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MotoGP Le Mans: Tyre pressure controversy - Dorna statement and rider reaction

Tyre pressure irregularities on the Ducati Lenovo GP22 brought the validity of Pecco Bagnaia’s Jerez victory into question this week.

With speculation abound, multiple riders were suggested to have breached regulations regarding Michelin operating parameters across the opening six rounds of the 2022 season, promoting MotoGP Technical Director Danny Aldridge to issue a statement on Thursday evening.

"In cooperation with the MSMA and following a request from the MSMA, the Technical Direction of the Championship is currently in the process of evaluating a new tyre pressure monitoring protocol,” the statement confirmed.


"This procedure must include the introduction of a unified sensor and receiver system, because it is the only way to have reliable data for scrutineering. In addition, a detailed protocol of how the new regulations will be enforced has been discussed with the MSMA and it has been unanimously agreed that it will not be implemented before the start of the 2023 season.

"This protocol has preliminary been agreed within the MSMA on the condition that it would be evaluated by all manufacturers during the 2022 season. To aid in this evaluation, all manufacturers have unanimously agreed to freely share their riders' tyre data after each event with all other manufacturers; as this data is supplied voluntarily and the sensors are calibrated individually by each sensor manufacturer, it cannot currently be verified for its accuracy.

"As agreed between Michelin, FIM, IRTA, MSMA and Dorna, the tyre regulations will continue to be enforced as they have been for many years, under the control of the Technical Director and Michelin, until such time that the proposed new procedure is ready to be introduced.”

The man initially in the spotlight, after his maiden win of the year, was pretty laid back on the subject when questioned in the pre-event press conference ahead of this weekend’s French GP.

“The thing is quite clear,” Bagnaia explained. “You do a pressure thinking always that if you start in front you have the possibility to don't get this pressure but if you're behind it's sure that this pressure will go up. So is difficult to predict in a track like Jerez that was hot, was not easy. It's difficult work for the crew chief.

“I read that was an illegal situation but this means also that 18 riders from the start of the season were illegal, but any one of that were not penalised. So for sure is that we are speaking about nothing and if you ask to the riders here, I'm quite sure that they are with me on that.

“With the rear one is more easy,” he continued. “The front one is more difficult and Michelin just have advice for you for the type pressure but is not mandatory. Is more critical and more difficult when you have a higher front pressure compared the lower and I did the race in Jerez from 1.85 to 1.89 [bar - the minimum stated by Michelin for safety reasons, is 1.9 bar for the front tyre]. So doesn't change a lot.”

Monster Energy Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo backed up his 2021 rival, suggesting he too may have won under similar circumstances.

“From my point of view, I think I'm agree,” the Frenchman confirmed. “My plan in Jerez was try to overtake Pecco and try to be alone but you know that if you go in front, you prepare that basically you can be also in the rear and you try to get the lowest as possible. But when you're behind is reverse, the tyre is going up a lot and I think it happened the same to me in Portugal - that I think I was also lower all the race in Portugal.


“So I think is going to be difficult if they make a regulation because you know that if you start too high, your race can be super bad or super good. On the rear is much more easy to control but on the front I think is tough. I think that we need to try to make something with Michelin that didn't trouble so much when you are behind and when you are alone, to find the correct balance.”

Discussions continued across the front runners with Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro reiterating the difficulty with the current situation.

“I think it's quite an important thing,” the recent treble podium-sitter admitted. “For me, it's affecting a lot, a lot, a lot. In Jerez when I was behind Jack [Miller] and Marc [Marquez] I was struggling a lot, a lot and had a lot of chattering, the bike doesn't turn, and as soon as I had clear track I was half second faster, pushing hard!

“So the behaviour of the bike change dramatically, sincerely, at least in my case. I think it will be fair to set I don't know a limit or wherever but it will be fair to fight everybody with the same weapons, to be similar. But it's a very difficult thing, for the teams but also for Michelin. Because as Pecco and Fabio said, what do you do? How you start? How you know if you're going to be following three bikes or you will have free track? It's quite a difficult thing.”


Johann Zarco was another who suffered at the Spanish GP, crashing out after nine laps.

“I'm agree also,” the Pramac rider chipped in. “It's big difference between front or behind. Also me in Jerez, I was not having good feeling, but I was behind Bezzecchi and quite close from him and then I crash.

“If they put a limit they have just to open a bit more the range,” he suggested. “They are giving a range like kind of advice but maybe they are thinking about the safety but I think if we have margin for the safety we should go very, very low to get problem and we will never reach the point of too low. So I think just need to open the range to help this kind of problem and I think it will not give safety problem in the future.”

Eight-time World Champion Marquez proved the subject unanimous.

“I'm completely agree with Pecco,” the Repsol rider established. “Lower pressure in the front doesn't mean more performance, even sometimes it's worse.

“It's true that what I feel is now, with the new aerodynamics, where the philosophy is going now, the MotoGP is more difficult to overtake, is more difficult to ride behind the others and it is more critical for the front pressure tyre. Because when you are alone, you use your aerodynamics to turn and you don't push a lot the front tyre, when you are behind somebody, then you don't have the downforce of aerodynamics and then you're pushing more the steering and you're pushing more the tyre and then the temperature going up. So becomes more and more critical every year.

“So this is something also that for the future we need to adjust, but not the tyre pressure, the tyre pressure is related about many things.”

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