MotoGP riders fear “boring” races as tyre pressure rule comes into force at Silverstone
From this weekend’s Silverstone round, the new Tyre Pressure Management System will come into use, which measures the pressure of front and rear compounds.
This rule was set to be enforced from the start of the 2023 season, but has been kicked down the road as testing of the new TPMS continued.
The minimum riders and teams must adhere to is 1.9 bar (27.6psi) of pressure on the front and 1.7 bar (24.7psi) on the rear for at least half of a race distance.
This has been brought in as a safety measure to stop teams using tyres incorrectly in regards to pressure. However, this front pressure minimum has raised concerns over safety, as the more the tyre balloons, the less grip there is.
As a result, Aprilia’s Espargaro believes racing will suffer as riders look to avoid their tyre pressures from getting too high.
“It’s a very good idea to make the races more boring,” he said when asked by Motorsport.com on Thursday at Silverstone about the new rule.
“Very good idea, because we will see bikes with one second between them, 100%. I said after Assen… I don’t want it to sound bad but I was faster than Brad [Binder] in Assen but I couldn’t get closer to him because he brakes super late and I couldn’t overtake him and my pressure was too high, so I spent all the race at one second until the last lap when I got closer to him to try and overtake. And this is what you will see.”
Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia Racing Team
Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
Several riders noted that the margin they have before the front pressure becomes unmanageable is one bar, with Espargaro suggesting that the regulated minimum should be “1.78, 1.8”.
Asked by Motorsport.com how a rule change designed as a safety measure could itself be unsafe and has been pushed through upon request by Michelin, Espargaro added: “This is the question I asked them. Your question is the question I asked them.
“I said what happens if I arrive at the end of Barcelona Turn 1 at 2.2 [bar], how do I stop the bike? How do I avoid to hit somebody? Give more space.”
KTM’s Jack Miller does not foresee issues for himself as the Austrian manufacturer has ensured him “we are safe as houses” with its tyre operation.
“For me, I definitely know from the Ducati it was more critical,” Miller said. “I don’t notice it as much on the KTM.
“In terms of knowing where I’ve been, I don’t, but in terms of just chatting to the engineers and understanding their feedback and sort of… I had concern, obviously, when you hear about the rule and penalties and so on and so forth, and they’ve been nothing but reassuring.
“They said don’t worry about it, we’re safe as houses, so fingers crossed they’re right and we are safe as houses and we should be inside that window no dramas.”
Pramac’s Johann Zarco suggested that the new rule is aimed at limiting Ducati’s advantage, having been the dominant manufacturer in 2023.
But VR46 Ducati rider Marco Bezzecchi has refuted this, stating: “For me it’s not a matter of manufacturers.
“It’s a matter of where you are in the classification of that race, because if you are leading or in the top group it’s different than when you are in the mid pack.”