Following comments from MotoGP™ riders, including World Champion Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar), on the re-allocation of pre-heated tyres at the TISSOT Grand Prix of Doha, Michelin has come out to explain the situation.
Pre-heated tyres are tyres that were given to teams for last weekend's Qatar Grand Prix and put on tyre warmers during that weekend, but then not used. Said tyres were returned to Michelin, having obviously cooled, before then being re-allocated back to teams and put through another heat cycle.
"Today was a little bit difficult because we had tyres that were previously heated and also some new tyres. It played a great role in FP2," said Mir following yesterday's FP2 sessions, with riders believing pre-heated tyres offer less performance compared to a brand-new set.
Michelin, however, have clarified the situation in a Q&A, set out below:
Why are there pre-heated tyres?
These are tyres that have been allocated to a team but have not been used, and while they were with the team they have put tyre-warmers on them and kept them heated to around 90 degrees C. As the tyres were not used, they were returned to us (as is normal practice) and then reallocated at a later date.
Does this affect the performance of the tyres?
We have done extensive tests on our tyres which have been kept in this pre-heated state, and these tests show that it does not negatively affect their performance. Our technicians carefully monitor and log the time that each individual tyre spends in warmers, and this ensures that none of the tyres is kept on warmers for anywhere near the maximum time limit. To highlight this point, yesterday Jorge Martin and Enea Bastianini did their fastest laps during FP2 on pre-heated tyres!
Is this a one-off for Qatar?
No, but due to the number of pre-race tests and the two back-to-back race weekends here, it has become much more apparent.
Did all teams get pre-heated and tyres, and which tyres?
Yes, all the teams have received the same quantity of pre-heated tyres, and it could be any type of tyre – Soft, Medium or Hard.