In his eighth year in the world championship, the manager of French tires takes stock of the situation for Moto.it, also clarifying in detail the aspects that most arouse discussion among enthusiasts. “We have a good basis both front and rear. For the “Sprint Race” same tires as the race”
March 22, 2023
To interview Piero Taramasso is very easyas well as always a lot Interesting: the Michelin racing manager answers all questions, does not hide, don’t make excusesexplains any problems. A pleasure to listen to him. Here is the point of the situation on the eve of the 2023 season, the eighth since the French manufacturer returned to the world championship.
“After the first seasons, which were a bit laborious, Now the tire works pretty wellboth front and rear. But development doesn’t stop, we’re always trying to improve our tyres. For 2023 there are, by regulation, fewer tires available: there are always 12 at the front, but the riders will have 21 at the rear instead of 23, of which 12 can always be used. A “green” choice to build fewer. Also for the rear, there will be only two compounds available, instead of three: soft and medium or medium and hard, depending on the circuit. We based ourselves on data from 2022, eliminating the fluffy for only 4-5 loops”.
Have you made choices aimed more at durability rather than performance?
“No. In recent years it has been seen that the trend is to use the hard front and the soft rear. We made this choice, because that is the direction taken by the manufacturers”
The “Sprint Race” has been introduced: what changes for Michelin?
“From a technical point of view, nothing: we didn’t make any special tires for this race. The tire that competes in the “SprintRace” can easily compete in the Sunday race as well. Rather, extending FP2 to 60 minutes (from 45, NDA) allows you to do real race simulations, do many consecutive laps to better evaluate tire wear”
There will be two new circuits, Kazakhstan and India: are you worried?
“From the data we have, they are quite aggressive tracks: unfortunately it won’t be possible to go and test earlier, the calendar doesn’t allow it. We work based on simulations, we try to define the right compounds, but we will certainly bring four front instead of three and three rear instead of two. FP1 and FP2 will be a bit longer to allow the teams to collect data. We are relatively calm, even if a new track is always something challenging”
At Portimao and Sepang you tried a new front: how did the test go, will the tire be used?
“Yes, it’s a new compound: it should give the riders the support of the hard, with the grip of the medium. The tests went well, most of the riders liked it. The compound has been “promoted”: it will make its debut in Argentina and Texas. Then we will use it in another 5-6 circuits during the season”
Let’s take stock of the situation on the famous pressure control sensor.
“Starting from 2023 there is a single sensor for all bikes and the ECU channel is encrypted: this was not the case in 2022. Everything is recorded: the signal is sent live to the “Race Direction”, which can verify if it is respected the minimum pressure, the value that we impose. We previously asked for 1.9 Bar as a minimum limit, we went down to 1.88, with a tolerance of 0.03: therefore you can go up to 1.85 Bar”
Taramasso is convinced that there will be no major problems.
“When you’re slipstreaming, when the temperatures are very high, when there’s a lot of humidity, there’s a rise in pressure, up to 2.2 Bar: that’s the maximum limit for the rider to lose feeling with the front. In the first three GPs everything will be monitored and recorded, but there will be no sanctions, then from the fourth GP penalties will eventually be introduced. There is a fairly large window between the minimum imposed and the maximum pressure that is reached”
However, it can happen that you make a mistake, making a mistake in the calculations during the tests…
“How much air to put in the tire will be decided based on the experience on Friday and Saturday: it is true, however, that there are variables that can affect the change in pressure. You have to take more or less margin: there are those who will risk more and those who will be more on the safe side. The first three races are really used to learn how to manage everything, but the technicians already know what they have to do.”
Taramasso recalls, once again, how the tires are assigned to the drivers.
“Before arriving at the circuit, each tire is signed with its own identification number. We prepare the location for the 22 pilots, each lot is assigned a number. We send the excel file to the technical director: on Wednesday, in the IRTA office, in front of a representative of each team, the draw is made. There is no possibility of fraud, we cannot decide to assign a certain tire to a certain rider”
Are there any news coming up?
“We started working on a new front: the bikes now put much more stress on the front tyre. The prototype will be ready in May/June 2023: it is a tire designed to work at even lower pressures, to give more grip when cornering and be less sensitive to temperature variations. The goal is to introduce it in 2025: it’s a completely new product”
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