Pedrosa, Honda blast Michelin.
Monday, 18th August 2008
Dani Pedrosa furious with Michelin after suffering 'worst race of his career' at Brno on Sunday.
If Dani Pedrosa has any influence on the matter, and he undoubtedly does, then the Repsol Honda Team looks one step closer to a switch to Bridgestone tyres next season, after the world championship contender suffered 'a complete disaster' during the Czech Republic Grand Prix weekend.
Already battling pain from a healing hand injury, Pedrosa - like all the Michelin riders - suffered a miserable lack of grip throughout the Czech weekend, in both dry and wet conditions, at the resurfaced Brno circuit.
Only one Michelin rider was able to break into a Bridgestone dominated top ten throughout free practice and qualifying - and Bridgestone swept the top eight positions in the race, when Pedrosa slumped from a fast-starting sixth on lap one to 15th at the flag.
The Spaniard, third in the championship and a double 2008 race winner, finished ahead of only Randy de Puniet, who fell, and set just the 15th fastest lap time out of the 17 riders. Brno marked the second event in succession at which Michelin has failed to supply competitive tyres.
By contrast, the same specification factory Honda, in the hands of Gresini's Shinya Nakano for the first time this weekend, set the third fastest lap of the race - 2.2secs quicker than Pedrosa - and progressed from twelfth on lap one to fourth at the finish.
"This weekend has been a complete disaster," fumed Pedrosa, who had qualified twelfth. "Today's race was the probably worst of my career. In fact I couldn't even race today, all I could do was ride. I couldn't control the bike, I didn't feel safe. I was riding so slow, I felt impotent and ashamed. I considered stopping but I stayed out there to get some points.
"We really need a drastic improvement from the tyres. I had no grip at the front and no grip at the rear, from the first lap to the last," he continued. "It was therefore impossible for me to push any harder, even though I was going very slow, three or four seconds slower than the leader. I almost crashed twice, so I just tried to finish the race. I did my best in very difficult circumstances, at the end the tyre performance was even worse than it had been during the early laps.”
It is unusual for Honda management to heavily criticise any of its technical partners in public, but - worryingly for Michelin - Repsol Honda team manager Kazuhiko Yamano confirmed Pedrosa's verdict of a tyre-induced 'disaster'.
"It is very difficult for me to comment, other than to say that I am very disappointed with this weekend. It has been a disaster for us," he began. "We tried many different settings solutions to find better tyre performance but it was obvious from the first laps today that Dani was in a very difficult situation with poor grip. In fact I was worried that if he pushed harder he might crash. The team has done its best here but we have been restricted by tyre performance."
Although Michelin made a strong start to the 2008 season, of the twelve races held, Bridgestone riders have now won nine of them. Pedrosa remains third in the world championship, but is now 65 points behind Valentino Rossi.
Two days of testing will take place at Brno on Monday and Tuesday. The 2008 MotoGP series then continues at Misano in two weeks, when Pedrosa will be rejoined by team-mate Nicky Hayden who missed this race due to a foot injury sustained during a Supermoto event at the X Games on August 1.
Pedrosa, Honda blast Michelin. | MOTOGP News | Crash.Net