“Hypersensitive Michelin don’t admit mistakes” - Honda MotoGP boss Alberto Puig

HRC Honda team manager Alberto Puig skewers 'hypersensitive' Michelin boss Piero Taramasso for his reasons to change rear tyre spec in Indonesia MotoGP

Pol Espargaro - Repsol Honda

HRC boss Alberto Puig has taken aim at MotoGP tyre suppliers Michelin for its justification in altering the rear tyre specifications ahead of the Indonesian MotoGP after Honda struggled for pace.

Following a strong start to the year in Qatar, Repsol Honda had high hopes of a good result on the series’ first visit to Mandalika after Pol Espargaro topped the timesheets at the Lombok venue during pre-season testing.

However, concerns from Michelin that the track surface was too demanding for the carcass it used in testing led to it bringing a harder-wearing compound that hadn’t been used since the 2018 Thailand MotoGP for the race weekend.

As a result, Honda struggled for pace all weekend with all four of its riders failing to progress out of Q1.

Leading Espargaro to criticise the move after it spent the winter period focusing on optimum set-up using tyres it was expected to run, Michelin boss Piero Taramasso reacted with surprise saying ‘the change was made for safety reasons’.

However, Puig in words attributed to GPOne, was angry Michelin made the change without consulting the teams directly, before calling Taramasso himself ‘hypersensitive’ to criticism.

“It is strange he says Honda doesn’t know how to adapt. Honda has adapted to many technical changes, it is the longest-running and most successful company in the history of Grand Prix. Does this mean we don’t know how to adapt? This is the first time I’ve heard such a thing.

“From my experience in racing, you have to talk to the riders, not Apple, IBM or Dell. You have to listen to the riders and, if you have any who have been World Champions several times, you can assume they know what they’re talking about. 

“Mr Taramasso becomes hypersensitive every time someone talks directly about his tyres without admitting mistakes on his part. This, in my opinion, is wrong and too radical. We all make mistakes, even him.”