In an interview conducted by Motociclismo, Piero Taramasso, Michelin’s track manager, mentioned several key findings in the sport relating to tires, specifically the front. Most normal folk will find that their rear tires wear out much quicker than their fronts, but that doesn’t seem to be the case in the fastest two-wheeled league in the world.
MotoGP tires are a different breed compared to road or even track tires, and GP tire technology appears to be lagging in some regard behind the bikes. In the interview, translated from Italian, Taramasso states that “bikes have changed a lot, even in the last two years, and consequently the riding style of the riders.”
Taramasso continues by going into detail about how riders have been very hard on the front tire entering into corners late thanks to the techniques introduced by Marc Marquez and his daring corner entries and hard exits. The front is also increasingly stressed due to the aerodynamics of the GP bikes that now all feature winglets to help keep the front glued to the asphalt. Brakes are also getting more powerful in MotoGP, inducing, even more, load and stress to the front of the bike.
On most normal motorcycles, the rear wears out quicker since most riders aren’t as hard on the fronts. In MotoGP, front tires get a window of rest whenever the racers sit on the rear tire and accelerate in a straight line, only to squat back on the front by the time they enter the next corner.
Taramasso also reveals that front tires have remained the same for five years now, meaning that the technology is indeed lagging behind compared to the bikes. However, Michelin did have plans to move over to a better MotoGP tire, but the COVID-19 Pandemic got in the way, leaving tire development to grind to a slow crawl. According to Taramasso, a new tire will ideally be presented at the end of this MotoGP season, with tests to happen in 2023, and a debut hopefully slated in 2024. It was also mentioned that the new tire will be less sensitive to changes in pressure and temperature.
Having a more advanced compound in MotoGP tires could lead to more exciting races with more overtaking. Right now, the frequency of overtaking depends on the track and on the weather conditions with high heat and humidity being negative factors.