Response To Criticism On Preheated Tires By Riders - Official Statement By Michelin
Some MotoGP riders have complained about poor performance from tires that have already been preheated once – Now, Michelin responds to the criticism and explains the background.
In the 2022 season many riders are regularly complaining about having to use preheated tires. Tires are considered preheated as soon as they have gone through one cycle of warming up under tire blankets and haven’t been used that weekend. To reduce waste, the preheated tires have to be used the next weekend.
So far, so good, however, more and more riders are reporting problems when using these preheated tires. According to them, going through one cycle of heating has a significant impact on the tire’s performance.
Michelin tire fitting – Image provided by Motorsport Images
One example of this is Pol Espargaro. The Spaniard crashed twice in Turn 1 at the Sachsenring. On the second occasion, he had mounted a preheated rear tire. In this crash, Pol Espargaro bruised his ribs.
After the session, the Honda rider stated: “I wasn’t on the gas when I crashed. It’s also true that it was a hard tire that had already been preheated once.”
He continues: “The performance is usually worse when the tire was already preheated once. The grip was lower.” Interestingly, Pol’s brother Aleix Espargaro does not feel a big difference with the preheated tires.
However, he acknowledges: “There is a lot of talk about this in the safety committee. It’s a difficult situation. I understand Pol. But what should you do? Should you throw away the tire when it has been preheated?”
Usually, tires are assigned by lot to keep it fair – that’s different with preheated tires. Teams that have heated and not used their tires on a weekend get their tires back for the next. That way every team lives by its own consequences.
In a newly released statement, tire supplier Michelin, depicts the problem that way too: “The drivers/teams that manage their tire quota well and don’t warm up too many tires will get fewer ‘preheated’ tires at future races. Since the teams are responsible for how they manage their tire quota, they also know exactly how long and to what temperature the tires have been heated up.