Drivers looking for solutions to difficult overtaking

At the beginning of the season, many drivers complained that overtaking maneuvers were becoming increasingly difficult, and the topic has been raised regularly since the start of the European Championship. Jack Miller attributed the complexity of the overtaking maneuvers to the competitiveness of the current field, which no longer makes it possible to make the difference as easily as it used to, but to the factors appear multiple times.

“The thing is, with the current bikes and the situation in the class, to pass someone you have to make a really aggressive move, because with the holeshot [device]Aero, these things, it’s so hard to overtake”explained Marc Márquez, whom Johann Zarco only overtook when he opened his trajectory at Le Mans and who had spent a large part of the Spanish GP at the wheel of Jack Miller and in front of Aleix Espargaró without being able to find the opening.

“I’ve said in a safety committee in the past that we’re going down a path that’s faster on lap times, but people don’t realize if you’re half a second faster or slower. People want to see transgressions: for example [au Mans], Fabio was very quick but he was blocked and so was Aleix in Jerez behind Miller and me. If the car in front doesn’t make a mistake, overtaking is almost impossible.”

Marc Marquez and Johann Zarco

Front tire pressure, a key element

Beyond the similar performances of all machines and the race for performance, several technical elements are put forward by the pilots to explain the current situation, starting with the behavior of the front tire. Behind a rider, the rubber heats up quickly and the pressure increases, making the bike very difficult to control.

It’s hard to have good fights in this situation because if you spend a lot of laps behind a rider, you won’t be able to ride the bike afterwards. It’s very, very difficult.

Luca Marini

After the Spanish GP, this front tire pressure sensitivity was brought to light when it appeared that it was common practice for drivers to start races with tire pressures lower than Michelin’s recommendations in anticipation of on-train fights, which would then increase Print. This question occupies a significant place, since the tire is particularly sensitive to an increase in temperature.

“It changes in the draft when one or more pilots are ahead, it’s worse when there are two or three.”explained Luca Marini. “If you try to slow down a bit, leave a gap of a second, the pressure starts to drop a bit, you feel better and you can try to attack again to overtake the man in front as quickly as possible. After a round or two, that’s impossible. I think it’s been like this since last year.”

“Of course we will find a solution for next year, I hope it will be better for everyone and it would be better for the show too. then for example at the end of the race they can attack again to overtake you but it’s hard to have good fights in this situation because if you spend a lot of laps behind a rider you won’t be able to ride the bike after that very much, very difficult.”

Luca Marini, VR46 racing team

Luca Marini

The more time a driver spends in the slipstream of a competitor, the more critical the situation becomes: “I feel like there are notches. With pressure like that we have a feeling like that, when the pressure increases we have it [une autre sensation], when braking, we start to have blockages at the front, so it’s difficult to brake the bike, you have to brake a little earlier. When the pressure is really high you start to lose the front in the middle of the corner, especially in the fast corners. In front the situation is more critical. You have to watch out for slowing down a bit and it’s difficult to feel like you’re overtaking the one in front because you start to think that if you overdo it you can fall.”

Dovizioso sees other problems

Andrea Dovizioso doesn’t quite share the opinion of his compatriot. The veteran of the grid, while acknowledging the influence of the front tire on the bikes’ behaviour, also points to the race for development which he says has made the bikes more difficult to control in the braking phases and makes any attempt to overtake more difficult.

“That’s for sure [la pression de pneu] doesn’t help with fights, but it’s been a Michelin trait for a long time, not just since this year.argued Dovizioso. I’ve read things from some pilots and disagree. I think the reason why there aren’t many overruns is because of the development of the machines with the slats, the devices, the electronics. All of these things make overtaking difficult.”

“It’s very easy to understand. When braking, everyone blocked the front, almost everyone. If you are already at the limit by blocking the front, this means that you can no longer brake several meters later, even when braking and lowering with the ailerons, you have suction, so you have no chance of braking at the limit, you have to brake earlier, because you have the pull of the other pilots.”

Andrea Dovizioso, RNF MotoGP Racing

Andrea Dovizioso

“Ailerons lower the bike, but under suction you want the opposite so you have to brake sooner and it’s harder to overtake. If you can get out quicker or overtake on the straight, you can play with the braking, but if you need to overtake while doing so, it’s worse with the lowering. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but it’s worse.”

Which solutions?

Without regulatory changes or significant modifications to the front tire, the situation is unlikely to change for the better. Luca Marini asks Michelin to take this issue into account, knowing that the Clermont manufacturer plans to test a new version of its front rubber starting this year, but only wants to launch it in competition for the 2024 season.

I think Michelin did a great job on the rear tire, they’ve made a lot of progress since 2019 and now, You need to focus on the front tire to make the show better. At the moment we’re just behind the man in front and we’re waiting for him to make a mistake because if he doesn’t make a mistake overtaking is impossible.

“I feel like this season, but also since last year, I’m the driver that Viñales hates the most! Every time he’s behind me I try not to let him pass and of course he has a rhythm far superior to mine, but that’s the way it is.” can not double. In my opinion, with those feelings at the front, because of the pressure or those things, if you don’t make a mistake in 27 laps, the driver behind can’t overtake. If we have more speed in a straight line we can overtake, but that’s not the case for me at the moment.

For his part, Dovizioso consequently advocates limiting certain technical developments: “It depends on where the league wants to go. The rules say you can use [les ailerons] and that’s why it’s normal to push in this way because we can be faster and more precise and it’s better to have them. It’s normal to go this route, but if we want to remedy this, we have to change the rules.”

With Guillaume Navarro and Charlotte Guerdoux

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