Espargaro Forced to Start with “Flat Tyre” in Austrian MotoGP Amid Concerns Over Pressure Rules

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MotoGP has recently implemented new regulations regarding tyre pressure, starting from the British Grand Prix, that have been widely condemned by riders.

Under the new guidelines in dry races, riders must complete half the distance of a grand prix and 30% of a sprint while maintaining the minimum pressures designated by Michelin—1.7 bar in the back and 1.88 bar in the front.

Although touted as a precautionary step, numerous riders have protested that the steep front minimum is perilous since any pressure exceeding 2.0 bar takes away the tyre’s grip and braking stability.

Riders are more prone to experience escalating front pressures when riding in groups, especially due to the turbulence caused by the current aerodynamics of the bikes. This situation is exacerbated by the hard braking conditions at the Red Bull Ring, presenting significant obstacles for the riders.

Espargaro, having faced difficulties in Saturday’s sprint and recognizing the ongoing issue with pressure management for the Aprilia, confessed that he was compelled to begin last Sunday’s grand prix with a front tyre that seemed deflated.

“We hit our [tyre pressure] record in the sprint, one of the highest pressures ever,” said Espargaro, who finished ninth in the GP, adding, “We started incredibly low, almost like a flat tyre. It’s hard to grasp how low we began, and it’s causing problems in Aprilia since we’re one of the bikes with a higher front temperature. We achieved huge numbers, like a record for front temperature, among the four Aprilias. Therefore, it’s an area we need to focus on.”

Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia Racing Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / F1 Flow Images

Continuing Start Difficulties Trouble Vinales

Maverick Vinales secured second place at the Red Bull Ring, yet suffered bad starts in both races.

Initially, he was caught in a multi-rider scuffle in the sprint race, caused by Pramac’s Jorge Martin, and then fell from second to eleventh at the start of the grand prix, repeating a failure to launch.

This ongoing issue, once a thorn during Vinales’ tenure at Yamaha, has not been resolved by Aprilia’s adjustments to the clutch and launch control system, leaving the Spanish rider frustrated.

“I’m pushing the team hard because we have to get better,” he stated about the RS-GP’s starts, having climbed back to sixth in Sunday’s race. “If we had the rhythm we had today and started from the front, a podium finish was achievable. We have no choice but to improve.”

Maverick Vinales, Aprilia Racing Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / F1 Flow Images

“But, as a rider, I’m doing all I can. The technicians must make the improvements now,” he continued. “Ultimately, we’re getting the most out of the bike, and we should feel satisfied. Winning is our goal, and I believe I can achieve it. But when you’ve given your all, you must accept the outcome and strive to do better.”

Looking ahead, Vinales remarked, “The track wasn’t suited for us; it favored other teams. Now we’re heading to Montmelo and Misano, which seems more favorable. We must be prepared for the opportunity, and that’s what we’re building towards. The confidence is there; when I have the chance to be in front, I take it.”

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about MotoGP

What new tyre pressure rules have been enforced in MotoGP starting from the British Grand Prix?

The new rules require riders to complete 50% of a grand prix distance and 30% of a sprint maintaining minimum pressures set by Michelin, which are 1.7 bar on the rear and 1.88 bar on the front.

Why were these tyre pressure rules met with criticism from riders?

Many riders believe the high front minimum pressure is dangerous, as any pressure above 2.0 bar takes away the tyre’s grip and braking stability, especially when riding in packs due to the turbulence caused by modern bikes’ aerodynamics.

How did the new rules affect Aleix Espargaro during the Austrian GP?

Espargaro was forced to start the grand prix with a front tyre that felt flat to comply with the new pressure requirements. He struggled with pressure management, and his bike recorded one of the highest front temperatures.

What problems did Maverick Vinales face in the Austrian GP?

Maverick Vinales suffered poor launches in both races at the Red Bull Ring, dropping positions at the start. Despite adjustments made by Aprilia to the clutch and launch control system, the issue remained unresolved.

What are the future prospects for Maverick Vinales and the Aprilia Racing Team?

Vinales expressed confidence in his potential to win and acknowledged the need for technicians to improve the bike. He also pointed to upcoming tracks like Montmelo and Misano, which seem more favorable for the team.

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Tech_Geek91 August 23, 2023 - 11:11 pm

New rules, aerodynamics, hard braking – all these technical aspects are super fascinating! But sometimes the rules are like over the head. Who understands 1.88 bar pressure anyway?

JakeMotoFan August 23, 2023 - 11:22 pm

Man, those new pressure rules are nuts. Espargaro had to start with a flat tyre? That’s just crazy. hope they sort it out soon.

Vinales_Supporter August 24, 2023 - 5:55 am

Vinales deserved better, he’s pushing hard and the technicians need to catch up. But hey, i think he will win soon, he has the potential.

RedBullRingLover August 24, 2023 - 12:20 pm

Love the mention of Red Bull Ring, that track is always a challenge. The aerodynamics of modern bikes are amazing but also complicated, interesting read.

ApriliasRacer August 24, 2023 - 1:13 pm

what’s happening with Aprilia, they need to work on the front temperature and the starts, But I’m still a fan. Go team!


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