The wrong decision on front tyre choice cost Repsol Honda rider Marc Marquez any chance he had of battling for the podium at the opening race of the 2017 season at the weekend, after he folded on the grid to peer pressure and made the switch from hard to medium compounds and paid the price for it.
The Honda of both Marquez and Cal Crutchlow were unable to run the medium or soft options all weekend thanks to the aggressive braking of the Honda – where the pair makes up all their time as they continue to struggle with acceleration and top end power. Instead, they were forced to use the hard thanks to it’s increased ability to cope with the front end’s overheating as they decelerate.
But, with Sunday’s race starting nearly two hours later than scheduled thanks to intermittent showers of rain, the decision was made to switch to the softer tyre to cope with the lower track conditions – a move that backfired spectacularly.
“I think the decision to delay the start of the race was the right one – but then the temperature was dropping the humidity was coming higher, and I was with the hard front tyre. I had some doubts, but the Michelin guy said to me that I was the only one with the hard and to be careful, so I switched to the medium.
“After the race with the hard, I would have been able to fight for the victory to the end – but maybe also I would have been able to crash! The hard in the end gives less warning, and maybe if I had put that in I would have crashed. In the end, it was so critical – if you have an easy bike it’s easy to choose, but if you’re on the limit then you mush choose the correct one, and if you don’t you’ve already lost too much.”