MotoGP: Michelin doubt qualifying tyre ban

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Michelin doubt the option of eliminating qualifying tyres will be discussed again in 2008, with tyre boss Jean-Philippe Weber casting doubt on how a ban could be policed.

The issue of banning soft qualifying tyres was part of discussions held last year between Michelin, Bridgestone and Dunlop when talks were held about revisions to the 31-tyre limit in the premier class.

And Jean-Philippe Weber said he doesn’t anticipate qualifying tyres being on any future agenda in talks between the tyre companies.

Qualifying tyres is the one big advantage that Michelin currently has over rivals Bridgestone, with Nicky Hayden producing some impressive lap times on soft rubber in winter testing.

The American has topped the timesheets in the last three winter test sessions on a Michelin qualifier and Weber said: “Our feeling is that qualifying tyres are difficult to control.

“They have already talked a lot about this subject in F1 and we know that some independent labs have done tests on tyres.

“They are very different to control because there are many technical solutions in this area - you can apply a product to the tyre to have a softer tyre or you can have a thin layer of soft rubber on the tyre's surface that is gone after a few laps.”

One proposal made in 2007 was for riders to race on the same tyre they use to post their qualifying lap on, but Jean-Philippe Weber also said Michelin was apposed to such a move.

Weber added: “Some people suggest that riders should race the tyre with which they did their best qualifying lap, but once again it's not easy, because you don't know what the temperature will be on race day, and the way each bike behaves will depend on the bike and each rider's riding style.

“If you have ten degrees less track temperature on race day, that will be okay for riders who put a lot of stress and heat into the tyres, but with other riders who deliver less stress into the tyres will struggle to get the tyres to warm up, which could be dangerous.

“Maybe on four wheels it's not so dangerous, but two wheels is not the same game.”

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt