One factor which could be having an effect on tires is the aerodynamics war which has seen wings sprouting from every forward surface of the fairing.
The outbreak of strake cancer has seen the winglets massively increase in size and surface area, making the latest version on the Ducati Desmosedici GP resemble Baron von Richthofen’s Fokker Dr.I triplane.
Ducati was the first to understand and seize on the potential of the aerodynamic winglets, debuting them at Qatar last season. There were met with some skepticism for most of last year, until Yamaha suddenly rolled out their own version of them at Aragon.
In 2016, the winglet craze has infected the entire paddock, with the bikes of all five manufacturers now sporting some form of aerodynamic device.
Why did Ducati start fitting winglets? Because they work. One engineer who has seen the data told me that the effect was visible in it. The bike wheelies less when it has wings fitted compared to not having winglets.
That reduction in wheelie means that wheelie doesn’t have to be managed using the electronics to reduce power and torque. That, in turn, means the bike can accelerate harder out of the corner, reaching higher top speeds at the end of the straight.
The other manufacturers have all come to the same conclusion, hence the outbreak of winglets.