Soft compound front and rear tyres helped Ducati Team rider Andrea Iannone to become successful at the Austrian GP where the Italian won his first ever MotoGP, and Ducati’s first win in six years since Casey Stoner in Philipp Island.
After qualifying third on the grid, it rained ahead of the 11th round of the MotoGP season at the Automotodrom Brno in the Czech Republic. Like many of the riders Iannone thought that seeing as the rain had seemed o have held off since the end of the Moto2 race that the chances of the track possibly drying out was very high.
Both factory Ducati riders opted for front soft and rear full wet tyres
Expecting a flag-to-flag race Iannone opted for the soft compound front and rear full wet tyres. He would have had a strategy in place for when to come in and switch bikes where he would then return to the track on full slicks or intermediates; a strategy they have practiced at two rounds previously in the season.
The soft tyres were extremely effective at the start of the race; that mixed with the acceleration of the Ducati meant that he got a great start and he led at Brno for several laps. The track did not dry out though, and this made it extremely difficult for the Ducati rider.
Dovizioso ran off the track in the wet
His teammate Andrea Dovizioso who was also in contention for a podium ran off the track at one point, not crashing, and disappointed he pulled into the pits were he wanted to retire but his team made him return to the track which he did, reluctantly. He stayed out for a while but it was not long before he returned to the pits, adamant that he was not going to continue with the race. It was unusual from the Ducati rider.
Iannone about to lose his lead
Out on track Iannone was coming under attack. LCR Honda rider Cal Crutchlow had opted for the hard front and rear wet tyres, and Movistar Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi opted for the hard rear and soft front. Avintia Ducati rider Loris Baz had made the same choice as Rossi.
They were both flying through the pack, taking advantage of the extra grip with the hard tyre, and plucking the riders in front of them off one by one. Iannone soon lost his lead to Crutchlow. It was not long after that before he found himself travelling backwards and fast.
Things became dangerous for Iannone
It was dangerous for ‘The Maniac’! His front tyre was degrading, and fast! Chunks of rubber were seen flying from the front of his tyre when he raced along the straights. Soon it could be seen that almost the whole of the centre of the tyre had come away and the side walls were starting to come away from the inside out! It was amazing he was able to remain in control!
Iannone finished eighth in the race after a brave and courageous ride from the Italian, it is surprising that he was not black-flagged. He claimed eight points towards his championship and in sixth with 96 points. Dovizioso remains on 79 points in eighth. Baz was the highest placed Ducati rider after finishing the race in fourth.
Iannone left disappointed despite good strategy
Understandably Iannone was “disappointed about how the race went”, to go from leading to eighth because of a tyre must be heart-breaking especially when he felt they “had very high potential”. Aware that the soft tyres were likely to degrade fast he said he, “Started the race without pushing really hard in order to save the tyres as much as possible.”
His strategy paid off initially as he was “still in the lead with seven laps to go” however he said that it was “at this point that the front tyre began to show some problems”. He noticed that “other riders such as Dovi, Scott (Redding) and Jorge (Lorenzo) had their problems before” he experience any, he thought it was maybe as a result of the fact they “pushed harder right from the start”.
Iannone felt that he had “a good margin” and found that “as a result he could ride well without pushing” and that he was “in any case quick”. He felt that his result of eighth was “a real pity” as in the end “the race didn’t go the way we wanted it to go”.
Dovizioso left feeling really bad
Now Dovizioso has been left feeling “really bad about the way things went in the race” as he initially felt he was “very competitive” and that he was “in a position to get a good result”.
He had decided to opt for the “same tyres” that they had “used in the morning warm-up” which he said had “proved to be excellent” when used in “very wet track conditions”. He noted that “before the race” it had “stopped raining” and “even though the track stayed damp” he found that “the front tyre began to deteriorate in an abnormal way”.
Dovizioso said it was “so much” that he was “forced to come into the pits”. He felt that it was “a real pity” as he thought that “this was a great opportunity to score a good result”. He admitted he is now “a bit disheartened” as he returns “home from Brno with no points”.
Dovizioso did not mention the disagreement that he appeared to have with his pit crew when he entered the pits for the second time.