Home Championship Does MotoE have a problem with tyre pressure?

Does MotoE have a problem with tyre pressure?

MotoE tire pressure problem
Does MotoE have a problem with tyre pressure?

At the recent Italian GP, ​​a rider was disqualified for racing with tire pressure below the minimum allowed. Why in MotoE irregular tire pressure is sanctioned while in MotoGP it is not?

A few weeks ago Mat Oxley, one of the most well-known journalists covering motorsport, literally dropped a bombshell denouncing that some MotoGP teams were racing with tire pressure outside the regulation limits.
In support of his investigation, Oxley had shown data from the Spanish GP in which four riders had raced with tire pressure below the allowed limit for more than 50% of the race distance.
The story was partially debunked when both the teams and the championship organizer made it clear that the anomaly had been known for some time but was not sanctioned due to the lack of a common tire pressure measurement system.

MotoE tire pressure problem
Piero Taramasso, Two-Wheel Manager at Michelin Motorsport

In practice, each MotoGP team has its own sensors mounted on the tire rim that measure the pressure and temperature of the tire on real time over the race. The fact that there is not a single sensor but several sensors with different tolerances and calibrations makes it impracticable at the moment to sanction those who adopt pressures lower than those allowed by the tire manufacturer. The reason is that different pressure values ​​could be due to less accurate readings and not to real values ​​outside the boundaries.
Right or wrong, this is the situation in MotoGP until the end of 2022, while from 2023 the situation will change. Next year, all the bikes on the grid will have a single type of sensor to measure tire pressure and temperature. At that point whoever has pressures lower than allowed for more than 50% of the duration of the race will be sanctioned.

This is the state of affairs in MotoGP, but does MotoE also have a problem with tyre pressure? In MotoE the scenario is a bit different. The rule is always the same: whoever falls below the minimum pressure value (1.8 bar in MotoE) for more than 50% of the race distance, is disqualified.
This is exactly what happened to Andrea Mantovani in the recent Italian GP at Mugello. The Italian rider, who was racing to replace the injured Bradley Smith, had finished Race 1 in third position, gaining his first podium in MotoE. Unfortunately, at the post-race checks, it was found that the pressure of his tire was 1.78 bar, 20 thousandths of a bar below the minimum value allowed by the regulations. The irregularity was probably due to an error in compensating the ambient temperature by the team when the mechanics adjusted the tire pressure before the start. In the three days at Mugello, the weather conditions changed a lot and this may have led Mantovani's mechanics to make mistakes. Nevertheless, the regulation does not admit any allowance, even 1 thousandth of a bar below the value of 1.8 bar is sanctioned with disqualification.
Mantovani thus lost his first podium in MotoE, but as the friendly Italian rider said "I kept my hat and bottle of wine!"

MotoE tire pressure problem
Andrea Mantovani during the Italian GP at Mugello

Mantovani is not the first MotoE rider to be disqualified for irregular tyre pressure. It also happened in 2019 to Hector Garzò in race 1 at Valencia, but the home rider not only lost out on the podium but also his chances of winning the title, a title that was deservedly won by Matteo Ferrari in race 2.
But why the same irregularity in MotoE is sanctioned and in MotoGP not?
The difference is due to the fact that the MotoE World Cup is a championship in which everything is standard: the bikes, the tires, the suspensions and even the sensors. Since the latter are the same for everyone and are supplied by Dorna through the technical partner Dell'Orto, there are no possible discrepancies due to the measuring instrument. In this way, if a sensor registers a value below the limit and all the others are within the normal range, it means that that rider actually has a tire with irregular pressure. At that point the sanction is automatically applied and involves the disqualification of the rider in the race in which the violation was found.

MotoE tire pressure problem
Michelin is the sole supplier of tires for the MotoE World Cup

But why, once it has been ascertained with certainty that the tire has a pressure lower than the minimum allowed, is the penalty so hard? The reason is related to safety.
A tire carcass is crushed when in contact with the asphalt while remaining undeformed for the rest of the time. This phenomenon is repeated cyclically with each rotation of the wheel. Over a race, the tire carcass is deformed thousands of times.
The extent of the deformation is greater the lower the rubber pressure is. A very inflated tire remains stiffer while a more deflated tire deforms more easily, increasing the contact surface of the tire with the asphalt.
If the pressure is below the minimum allowed value, the deformation is greater than that assumed by the manufacturer during the design phase. Excessive deformation of the structure, repeated cyclically for the entire duration of the race, can cause the catastrophic failure of the tire.
For this reason, a rider who is on track with too low tire pressure is a danger for himself and for the other riders, and it is for this reason that the penalty is so clear and drastic.
In the four years of history of the MotoE, two disqualifications were imposed, to Mantovani and to Garzò, an evidence that the rule is regularly observed, except in extremely rare accidental violations.
So no, the MotoE does not have a problem with tire pressure.

MotoE tire pressure problem
Michelin is the sole supplier of tires for the MotoE World Cup

MotoE World Cup 2022
The World Cup standings

Photos: motogp.com e Michelin Motorsports

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