Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso feels the spate of crashes in the wet Dutch TT were as a result of a front MotoGP tire from Michelin that “didn’t work”.
Dovizoso qualified on pole at Assen and was at the top of the order when Sunday’s race was red flagged after lap 14. Facing a 12-lap sprint to constitute the race, rather than having to manage a full 26, most riders swapped their worn hard-compound rear wet tires for new soft wets before the restart.
The early laps of the second half were punctuated by crashes as riders lost the front end, with Dovizioso falling from second place, one lap before Valentino Rossi crashed out of the lead.
Dovizioso feels he and Rossi’s pace was a factor in the accidents, but that there is also a bigger issue that needs to be addressed with the front wet tires.
“I believe with Valentino, we pushed so hard to beat each other because we were the fastest,” he said. “We pushed too much. The reason why we crashed and the reason why too many riders crashed was the front tire didn’t work.
“In the second race we used the soft rear and the grip was more than double and it was very good but it created even more problems to the front.”
Dry weather means Michelin’s wet tires have barely been needed since the French supplier returned to MotoGP at the start of this year. Riders are happy with the rears, but discussed the front as being too hard – particularly for Assen – and offering no feel, with several suggesting they could be used for “100 laps.”
Michelin’s slick front tire initially gave riders headaches with its lack of warning before giving way, namely during the first tests late last year, but development has solved that problem.
When asked if the problem with the wets would be a similar process given the lack of wet running, easily solved by development, Dovizioso said: “I don’t know. The rain tire we used just didn’t work.
“We have good grip and we lose the [dry] front, it’s quick. So it’s a little bit different, maybe it’s the same problem but this weekend the point is the grip. There wasn’t the grip at all, so nobody felt it when we lost the front.
“In the dry this winter, when there was a lot of crashes with the Michelin front tire, the grip was quite good, but when you lost the grip it was very quick.”