Race strategy has changed again, with the improved durability of Michelin’s current race tyres. So says Ducati Sporting Director Paolo Ciabatti.
“The latest tyres have almost the same performance for all the race,” he told Dorna. “The riders don’t have to go slower for the first two-thirds of the race”, to save the tyre for the final showdown.
This is different from last year, when several races were artificially close for this reason; and it seems Marquez was quickest to take advantage of it, galloping away from the start in the USA (albeit stopped by a crash), Argentina, Jerez and Le Mans.
It’s born out by the number of fastest laps later in races: at Qatar Marquez, Crutchlow and Petrucci all did their best on lap 18 of 22; at Jerez Marquez on lap 25 of 25, and Dovi the lap before.
The difference, a Michelin spokesman confirmed, was in new technology introduced to rear-tyre compounds, improving grip and consistency. It had been used only on the Medium option in 2018, but after pre-season testing was made available also in Soft and Hard compounds this year.
by Michael Scott