MotoGP’s forthcoming switch to Michelin tyres could upset the established elite in the premier class.
That’s the view of Valentino Rossi’s legendary ex-crew chief Jerry Burgess, who believes a new official tyre supplier will have a bigger impact in MotoGP than a change to unified electronics for all bikes in 2016.
The two major rule changes are being implemented at the same time, but Aussie Burgess believes it will be Michelin replacing Bridgestone that will pose the biggest challenge for the likes of Rossi and Marc Marquez.
Burgess, who won seven world titles with Rossi before the Italian axed him at the end of 2013, told MCN: “I don’t think the electronics will be a major issue. It might take from the rich and give to the poor but the tyre situation could upset a lot of riders and maybe some of the best. Some of them will get on with it well because the product will be good. But in the Nineties we saw with Simon Crafar, he could win a race with a Dunlop front tyre but put him on a Michelin and he had no confidence at all and everybody else was winning races on it. I think the tyre change will be more interesting than the electronics. All those years ago when things went awry for Michelin they clearly understood they had been going in the wrong direction for too long and now they have come back to what the current standard is it might be relatively smooth.”
Burgess doesn’t believe that the electronics will be less intricate than the current level in 2016, with some top riders expecting the new unified software package to take away some of the influence of rider aids like traction control and anti-wheelie.
He added: “You can’t ride these bikes off the start without launch control otherwise they loop backwards. Traction control has to stay because the tyre company might not look like they are doing the fair thing with some riders and that would bring them pressure to have different tyres for different riders. And fuel saving modes will stay so you can do the race distance. You want traction, the rear wheel not to lock going into the corner and the launch control for safety, so all those will stay.”