Honda Repsol rider Dani Pedrosa was robbed of an effective performance during his last stint at Motegi – and tire supplier Michelin have stepped up to take the blame.
The final stages of the MotoGP 2017 race at Motegi were a strong echo to the battle that took place earlier in the year at Austria. Marc Marquez and Andrea Dovizioso duked it out once more, with Marc attempting once again to clinch the win from Dovi at the final corner – and failing yet again.
Though, something was amiss: Marquez’s teammate, Dani Pedrosa, wasn’t trailing close behind this time.
Pedrosa was forced to withdraw from the race four laps prior to its conclusion – a result that sent the Spaniard back to the Honda garage to figure out what the hell was going on. Trailing Dovizioso by nearly a minute on an almost-identical bike to Marquez made no sense – it left only one culprit: the tires.
After debriefing, Pedrosa and Co. have settled on the notion that the tires are the culprit – and Michelin agree:
“We are aware that what is going on with Dani isn’t normal because he’s a rider that is supposed to always be in the top three or top four. For us, his case means a big frustration and we are doing the impossible in order to help him.
His problem happens with cooler temperatures because he is not able to heat the tire properly. We know he’s a fast rider in every condition, but when the temperatures are low and it rains, he suffers a lack of confidence.
What we do is to increase his tire pressure, try to convince his technicians to help him with the set-up of the bike and tell him to push as much as he can. The pace is very important: two tenths slower means that the tire is losing 10ºC of temperature.” – Michelin
Although having come a long way since the troubles they helped manifest during the 2016 season, Michelin have proven that they still have more work ahead of them.
Yet, a closer analysis over their statement regarding Pedrosa does seem to indicate that while the tire supplier understands their product is a large factor, they can only do so much to boost Pedrosa’s confidence in the wet.
Sorry, Dani, this one might be more on you and your squad than we’d like to admit.