Michelin withdraws both rear tyres ahead of Argentina MotoGP race

There are concerns over medium and hard compound Michelin tyres after Scott Redding’s tyre delaminated during FP4. Two compound rear tyres were withdrawn and replaced with a special tyre and an extra practice session has been cancelled.

Michelin withdraws both rear tyres ahead of Argentina MotoGP race
Scott Redding crashed out during free practise | Photo: MotoGP

The fourth MotoGP Practice Session at the Termas de Rio Hondo session was red-flagged twice as Octo Pramac Yakhnich Ducati rider Scott Redding’s soft compound tyre was seen disintegrating as he entered approached Turn six.

The only footage available was that from on-board the Ducati of Andrea Dovizioso who was behind Redding on track. The tyre looked to explode on track and anything in the vicinity above it, including the seat was damaged. The bike did not fall to the ground as Redding was able to pull up in the gravel without dropping it however there was still a lot of damage done. The tread of the tyre littered the track and the session had to be stopped. FP4 restarted and then was stopped with just over four minutes to go as concerns grew about the soft compound Michelin.

The Ducati was then returned to the pit garage on the back of a trailer, the rear of the machine had to be concealed with a red blanket by the Ducati team to reduce speculation. The garage door was then closed to avoid any further speculation and media attention.

Redding was able to walk away from the incident however he did appear to be in pain as he walked to the safety area of the track; he appeared to be hunched over and was keen to check his back. He was able to return to the track when the session restarted.

Redding's medium compound tyre had been used for seven laps before it disintegrated; the cause of the tyre failing is still under investigation. In the meantime both of the rear tyre options have been withdrawn and what is described as an extra ‘special’ rear has been introduced to the riders and teams, all riders will receive four of this tyre for Sunday.

Safety first | Photo: Mirco Lazzari
Safety first | Photo: Mirco Lazzari

Termas de Rio Hondo - the grueling track

Both of the medium and hard compound tyres have been withdrawn because they are made up of the same construction; the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit is predominantly a right-handed track and so the tyre has been built up more on the right hand side of it. Conditions have been extremely hot at the start of practice in Argentina however Saturday was much cooler; yet, the temperatures the tyres reach and the strains they have been put under at the circuit have resulted in this precaution.

To compensate for the lack of time spent testing the tyre with current settings on the bike; the riders were set to receive an extra thirty minute practice session (and fuel allowance) that was due to take place at 09:00 Argentina local time for the MotoGP class. However, due to the weather conditions declining further ahead of the race on Sunday the decision was made to cancel the extra practice session as it would have meant that a sixth session may have been needed to test in wet conditions.

The special tyre will more than likely affect the lap times met by the riders, and so this combined with the front end worries, and the struggles to get through Turn 1 without error (which has claimed half of the MotoGP field as victims) means that anything can happen as we await to see the results from the second round of the MotoGP.