MotoGP riders entering 'unknown' following Michelin change

MotoGP riders Marc Marquez, Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo are braced to enter the "unknown" on Sunday in Argentina, following Michelin's rear-tyre problem

MotoGP riders entering 'unknown' following Michelin change

An issue with a rear tyre on Scott Redding's Pramac Ducati during the fourth practice session prompted discussions between Michelin, officials and teams on Saturday afternoon and evening.

Without the time to thoroughly investigate the issue, Michelin elected to withdraw both the medium and hard-compound rear tyres that had been allocated at Termas de Rio Hondo, replacing them with a medium compound with a stiffer construction.

While it had been thought that Michelin may take the medium tyre off the table and leave teams to race on the hard tyre, that rubber shares the same construction as the medium, "meaning that there is a possibility of a similar failure on the harder tyre", MotoGP officials noted.

QUALIFYING REPORT: Marquez takes pole despite crashing

An additional 30-minute practice session - which has since been cancelled - was scheduled to take place before the pre-race warm-up, but riders were aware that adjusting would be a task even if the session had gone ahead.

"After this decision from Michelin, I think that [Sunday] will be a bit of an unknown because everyone will have a different tyre spec from what we've used for the whole weekend," polesitter Marc Marquez said.

"We'll wait and see how it works. We'll have two warm-up sessions, one of 30 minutes and the other 20, to gather information, and we'll have to see if everything goes well.

"Let's hope there won't be too many differences from the tyres we've been using so far."

UPDATE: Extra Argentinian Grand Prix practice session cancelled

Rossi, who will start second, agreed that it "changes the situation a lot".

"With this decision we have to start from zero, so we have to hope that [Sunday] morning in the half hour warm-up we can understand the situation and that this tyre is safer," he said.

"Everybody is in the same boat, so we will see what happens."

Lorenzo will join his Yamaha team-mate and Marquez on the front row of the grid and said that while he was not entirely comfortable with the situation, he backed Michelin's ongoing efforts.

"It's a very strange situation that I've never encountered before," Lorenzo added.

"Unfortunately we had some issues in the recent past and it's definitely not a comfortable situation for the riders and the teams, but things are like that.

"I have great respect for Michelin and for the efforts they have put in these last few months to improve the 2016 tyres.

"Even considering this last inconvenience, I'm sure they will keep on working because safety is the first priority in racing."

Follow the Argentinian MotoGP Grand Prix from 8pm UK time on Sunday, with Autosport Race Centre Live

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Michelin withdraws Argentina MotoGP tyre compounds after failure

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