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Quartararo’s Tire Pressure Issue His Team’s Fault, Not Michelin’s

When you start from pole position and finish the race in 18th place, something went terribly wrong. This is exactly what happened to Fabio Quartararo last Sunday, and it cost him the points lead in the most prestigious motorcycle roadracing series on the planet. What went wrong?

Immediately after the race, Quartararo and his team acknowledged that the air pressure in his front tire elevated throughout the race … well beyond an optimal setting. Quartararo said this caused him to be unable to slow and turn his bike competitively. After just a few laps in the race, he dropped like a stone to finish in 18th.

Needless to say, MotoGP tire sponsor Michelin was quite concerned by this circumstance, and studied the data following the race to determine if it was a result of a defective front tire. The results of that study can be found here. The bottom line, according to Michelin, was that Quartararo’s team made a mistake in setting the base tire pressure before the start of the race. According to Michelin’s Piero Taramasso, “The problem was that they were unable to test the medium tyre during FP4, in conditions similar to those of the race, so they didn’t have data to understand what pressures to use and they calculated base pressures that turned out to be a bit more high than they should.”

This mistake may have cost Quartararo the championship, as he fell out of first place and now sits 6 points behind Joan Mir (Suzuki) with 4 races remaining.

11 Comments

  1. todd says:

    I get many more miles out of Shinko tires that cost half as much. There is no difference in handling and cold or wet weather traction that I can perceive, and I’m not a slow rider. I’ve learned long ago that the Japanese can design tires just as well as the French.

    • mickey says:

      I don’t think very many motorcyclists would consider a Shinko a premium tire or that they are in any way comparable to Michelins.

      In fact I believe most motorcyclists would even choose Dunlops or Bridgestones (not to mention Pirellis, Metzlers and Continentals) before putting Shinkos on their bikes.

    • Curtis says:

      Talking tires is one of my favorite subjects. But I don’t think there is any conclusion about street tire qualities that carries over from this discussion of Quarteraro’s tire issue.

  2. todd says:

    Michelin’s are a waste of money anyway. Why people spend the extra money to put them on a street bike is beyond me – just because they sponsor racers…

    • Anonymous says:

      Road 5s are great tires for a big heavy zx14r. I can get 7000 miles out of them which is good for my bike riding it hard.

    • mickey says:

      On many motorcycle forums Michelins are the go to tire for wet & dry traction, handling and longevity.

      I have been running Michelins on everything I own for maybe 25 years. Cars, trucks, motorcycles. I like them and trust them.

      I don’t care if they sponsor racing or not, those are not the same tires I am getting.

    • Jeremy says:

      Shinkos for the win, then? 🙂

      I go through a lot of tires. I’ve grown pretty fond of a particular Michelin front tire lately. It’s about 20% more costly than my previous favorite Pirelli and well over double the cost of several budget brand equivalents. I buy the Michelin because it works better than anything else I’ve tried currently, not because Michelin sponsor racers. For me, that’s worth the premium.

    • Curtis says:

      There are others of us who don’t feel this way. My current set of Michelins are outstanding.

  3. Kent Kangley says:

    It seems unlikely this was the fault of just one rogue mechanic with an airgun. In all likelihood, the team manager, the team’s tire engineer, maybe a rep from Michelin, and possibly even Quartararo himself got together and made their best guess on tire pressure based on the small amount of information they had. They took a guess, they guessed wrong.

  4. fred says:

    Perhaps things have changed. I remember reading when the tire manufacturers controlled the tire pressures with an iron hand, and wouldn’t let the teams set their own pressures.

    No skin in the game here, but it would seem that Michelin should take some responsibility to get good baseline information to the teams. I’ve moved away from Michelins on my bikes, so I don’t really care what they do anymore.

  5. Anonymous says:

    That sucks. All that prep work and blew it on the tire pressure. Someone’s getting fired.