MotoGP | Yamaha’s slump: a tyre issue

by H. Mayor – photo: | “This is not how you win the World Championship” and “It’s very naive thinking you can win the World Championship when you come in seventh”. This is what Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi (both pilots of Yamaha) said after last weekend’s race in Austria. Harsh but equally truthful words regarding Yamaha’s current position in the MotoGP World Championship.

Viñales has gone from being the great promise of the beginning of season to a steady dropping of points against leader Marc Marquez (he is now 24 points away) and against the remarkable Andrea Dovizioso. Over the last five races he has only managed a mere 45 points, 5 less than what he got for the first two. He doesn’t appear comfortable on the tarmac anymore, and his personal dexterity seems to be at odds with his machine. The Doctor on his part doesn’t seem to have found his rhythm yet this season. A decent start of the competition and his only victory in Holland are distant memories now after a constant demise over the last few races where he has only managed to achieve discreet positions and has exhibited a very low competitive level compared to that of the podium winners.

The culprit seems to be their bikes. The Yamahas that used to dominate in Qatar and Argentina have evolved to become inferior to others. Both pilots point out to a tyre issue although it is likely that the chassis has something to do with it as well, or even the engine which is no longer superior to those of Honda and Ducati. It is most likely a sum of various interrelated factors.

Back tyre

“The back tyre is put under a lot of stress and it makes it harder to get to the end of the race, particularly on some of the tracks”, Valentino Rossi declared after his seventh position in Austria. “There was not enough grip, when the bike performs well I am at the front, the problem comes when the tyre fails, perhaps we have made a mistake over the tyre choice” said Viñales who also added: “It is frustrating to give your best, feel good, and yet see how all your opponents leave you behind”.

After touching rock bottom performance-wise in Jerez and Barcelona, the replacement of chassis in Assen has partly corrected the overall problem although not completely. “The tyre issue is still there and we haven’t been able to sort it out yet, we need to get out of this pothole” both pointed out. As usual, solutions have to be found against the clock in a World Championship that doesn’t stop and where the leaders continue increasing in competitiveness.


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