Why Michelin Changed MotoGP Tire in Indonesian Grand Prix

Michelin came under scrutiny last weekend for switching the standard construction rear tire with an older design used in 2019.

The decision was made due to the challenges the manufacturer faced at the Mandalika Bay circuit. The main challenge was extremely high track temperatures during a three-day test at the venue.

Piero Taramasso said that changing tires was the only option Michelin had. Tests showed that the track was too demanding for the rear and front tires. The rear set suffered severely, courtesy of the track’s fast layout and new asphalt.

With high temperatures comes lots of spinning and blistering. The solution was to drop temperatures to about 20ºC. This called for opting for a casing that was used in 2018 in Austria and Thailand. This allowed temperatures to go down by 15ºC.

The result was less grip and less speed with the harder casing. A few riders did not like the switch but others such as Ducati and Yamaha were content with it. Taramasso believes the company did the right thing as this was the most challenging track they had come across.

Fortunately, what was lost in grip was gained in stability. This allowed the lap time to remain fairly okay. The riders were six-tenths slower on the second day.

Several teams complained about the change happening just after the test, rendering the data they had collected before pointless. This is despite the new construction having the same compounds as those tested. Michelin insists that the only way to race safely under the high temperatures is going with the harder casing.