MotoGP: Falling in hate, why so much falling in Le Mans?

Nobody likes falling. Le Mans showed us that physics’ laws can be dangerous, especially when combined with gravitational pull. Andrea Dovizioso, a rider that doesn’t fall that often, slipped on Chapelle turn after only 5 laps, right after overtaking his teammate Jorge Lorenzo. That’s a fast, right, downhill turn: be careful, these details should not be underestimated. The same turn knocked out Andrea Iannone, and he had to leave the race after just one lap. Johann Zarco, Saturday’s hero, fell on turn Garage Vert during lap 7. The French asphalt brought bad luck to Alvaro Bautista too, as he fell during the race. Here the report and ranking of Sunday’s MotoGP race.

SO MANY FALLS – Why so? David Emmett might give us the answer, as he spent some time analyzing the riders’ technical issues. The first warning signal came during FP, but it wasn’t taken into the due consideration. That’s the point: if it’s always the same riders who are repeatedly falling, nobody will pay much attention. The thing is that temperatures have been low for the whole weekend, making it difficult to manage the temperature range during tires’ mixing. The tires’ outer temperature, when the heating blanket is removed, is around 90° Celsius, but the temperature range can vary between 15° and more than 50° on the “cold” side when riders face a series of opposite turns. Bradley Smith affirmed: “Michelin has always been a leading producer, especially when it comes to rear tires; but somehow there is a certain delay, like a blind spot on the tire, because the grip is there but when the rider tries to ask for more something goes wrong”.

ADHERENCE – It’s hard to believe that Dovizioso, Iannone, Zarco, and Bautista are “serial fallers”. It’s much more likely that Michelin needs to give some explanation: how is it possible that tiny differences can cause such huge grip problems? It seems we are back to two years ago: a lot of adherence but no feeling. As Le Mans has been recently repaved, it looks like a circuit with infinite adherence. But there lays the problem: when there is too much of it, riders feel no limits. And this is probably not the best attitude when it comes to the actual battle. If the rider doesn’t “feel” any cohesion between the tires’ mixing and the pavement, he will push without knowing where the limit lays. Clearly, he will risk overdoing it. The riders who fell in Le Mans are the ones we would usually define as cautious (such as Dovizioso) or receptive (such as Zarco). Iannone? What a pity! But he fell with cold tires, as the TV commentator decided to stress. What he probably wanted to say is: when it’s cold, everything gets harder.

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