Bridgestone has confirmed that a thorough examination of the rear rain tyre used by reigning world champion Jorge Lorenzo in Sunday’s French MotoGP race showed up no defect.
Lorenzo suffered a nightmare in a rain-hit Le Mans encounter when he slumped from second to seventh and the Spaniard blamed a chronic lack of rear grip for his worst result since his rookie premier class campaign in 2008.
The 26-year-old said: “I think the rear tyre was not right. This was the main problem. In the warm-up we did one lap to clean up the tyre for the race and at that moment I thought something wasn't right because I had no grip.
But we thought in the warm-up it was the setting of the bike, which was for the dry, but finally after thinking about it I think it was the rear tyre because I don't see any other thing that could have given me this performance. It was unbelievable. It was a nightmare and in every corner was a nightmare and I felt like I was almost crashing.
I was struggling a lot. Normally I can overtake some riders and go in front and open a gap but this time I was trying so hard to follow Dovi (Andrea Dovizioso) and then Dani (Pedrosa) when he passed me, I was taking so many risks and lap-by-lap the bike was getting worse.”
But in its traditional post race media communication, Bridgestone said it had found no fault with Lorenzo’s tyre after it had carried out its own inspection in conjunction with Yamaha team staff.
Shinji Aoki, Manager of Bridgestone’s Motorsport Tyre Development Department, said: “It was clear during the race that Jorge had an issue as he couldn’t keep the same pace as the leading group. Immediately after the race he had a debrief session with his tyre engineer where he explained his lack of rear grip. As is always the case in these situations, his engineer thoroughly examined Jorge’s race tyres, which were found to be in good working condition.
In addition, I examined the tyre myself and personally discussed the matter with the Yamaha engineers and we all agreed that Jorge’s lack of rear grip was not attributable to his tyre. We received many different comments from the riders after the race on the feeling on the track, even though they all used the same specification of wet tyre and endured the same track conditions.
In these low grip situations, machine set up is critical as the smallest setting change can have a big effect on performance. In any case it was a shame for Jorge as he was so strong in morning warm-up and we all expected a better result from him, but he is a champion and I know he will be back to his competitive best at the next race.”