Motorcycle Racing

Morbidelli blames “dangerous” MotoGP first laps on tyres

Franco Morbidelli, Yamaha Factory Racing, Marco Bezzecchi, VR46 Racing Team

Morbidelli was involved in a red flag incident on the first lap of the sprint race at Jerez at Turn 2 when he made contact with Alex Marquez, with Marco Bezzecchi also involved.

Then on the first lap of the grand prix on Sunday, Fabio Quartararo on the other Yamaha collided with Miguel Oliveira after the Frenchman was squeezed between the RNF rider and Bezzecchi.

There have been first-lap collisions in three of the first four sprints and three of the opening four grands prix, with Enea Bastianini, Miguel Oliveira, Marc Marquez and Joan Mir finding themselves injured as a result.

Morbidelli believes Michelin’s front tyre has “a weak point”, in that “the performance drops” when it gets too hot, and this is leading to “crazy” first laps as riders look to gain as many positions as possible before getting stuck.

“We need to start thinking deeply about this, because there was another red flag, another scary moment, another dangerous moment,” Morbidelli said.

“Michelin, they need to work on this, they need to solve this thing. The regulations, the technology, need to be at the same level in all areas. Right now it looks like the bike technology outweighs the tyres.

“The tyres are good, but they have a weak point, that in hot conditions the performance drops and everything goes according to the front temperature and the front pressure.

“The bikes are fantastic… and when conditions are cold, the performance of the tyre is great, they are unbelievable.

“But they have this big weak point, so they have to push to fix this problem because it’s a big one.

Franco Morbidelli, Yamaha Factory Racing, Marco Bezzecchi, VR46 Racing Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

“The problem is that you gain one position and you’re most likely going to keep it, because with this tyre situation, every position is big time important.

“You saw that, and everybody tries to risk and gamble in the beginning to have this big reward.

“If you know that you can keep your potential in the race, you will be much more cautious in the first laps.

“But everybody starts with the aim of gaining as many positions as they can because most likely they are going to keep them, because everyone behind is going to get tangled by [tyre] pressures.

“So, I think this dangerous situation has a lot to do with the front tyres.”

While it is widely accepted that it is harder to overtake in MotoGP now largely because it is harder to follow other…

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