Michelin probe Rossi tyre vibe

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With Valentino Rossi’s stinging criticism ringing in his ears, Michelin boss Jean-Philippe Weber flew back to France today to begin an immediate post mortem on the tyre disaster that struck the Italian in Turkey's MotoGP race.

On one of the bleakest days for Michelin in recent history, the French factory suffered a humbling trouncing in Istanbul, with rivals Bridgestone claiming the top six places.

More humbling was another tyre disaster for Rossi, following failures in Laguna Seca and Shanghai in 2006.

Weber said investigations would commence instantly on Rossi’s rear tyre, which started to vibrate violently on lap 14 when his lap time suddenly plummeted by a second.

Rossi said he felt the tyre had suffered an internal construction failure.

Weber said: “Of course there was something that gave the vibration that Valentino was talking about, but we don’t know what was going on.

“When you look at the tyre it looks fine, there is nothing visual you can see. When we check on the machine we can see there is a small defect, a small bump.

“It is higher than what we usually have but we have to take the tyre back and open it to see what happened.”

Weber said if it was too early to diagnose the bump as the cause of Rossi’s slump down to 10th and he said: “It was a hard tyre on a very fast track so a very small defect could introduce this sort of vibration.

“It’s a few millimetres. It is not a bump you can see with the eye and you can’t feel it. If you put your hand on the tyre you can’t really feel it.

“It’s something that we have to measure with a specific device and then we don’t know exactly where the problem might have occurred. He had a vibration.

“He said he couldn’t enter the corner as fast as he expected and even on the straight when he opened the throttle he said he had a vibration."


 

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt