Dunlop ready to take on 2018 FIM Moto2™ and Moto3™ World Championship campaigns
The FIM Moto2™ and Moto3™ World Championships begin their 2018 campaign in Qatar on 18 March kicking off a season that pitches 60 world-class riders across the two championships, head-to-head over 19 rounds. Pre-season testing concluded in Jerez on Thursday (8 March), held amid a combination of wet and dry weather, and saw Briton Sam Lowes on his return to Moto2 fastest overall, with nine-time pole-sitter last year, Spaniard Jorge Martin top of the Moto3 riders. Both riders set their fastest time on day two, when weather conditions were at their best, Martin breaking his own lap record on the new track surface. The sessions allowed all riders the opportunity to perform single lap runs in preparations for qualifying, as well as race runs, and saw both the soft and medium tyre options available for Moto3 riders, and supersoft and soft compounds for Moto2.
Qatar kicks off the season with revised timetable
Due to the changes to the Qatar schedule, which sees the majority of the Moto2 and Moto3 practice sessions now being held during the day, Dunlop has elected to allocate a stronger range of tyres for the event. Traditionally the races have been held on a floodlit track, and wet races have not been run in the wet due to glare. The change in the schedule means for the first time since 2008 Dunlop wet tyres will be available if required.
2018 Tyre Specifications
The 2018 specification tyres remain similar to last season but see an increase in the number of sets available in Moto2. Eight pieces of the No.2 front will be allocated to each team. Data gathered from last year allows Dunlop to carefully select the best tyres for each race, offering a number of options of the Moto2 rear, designed to cater for the demands of different tracks and surfaces. The options for Moto3 remain the same as last season, and once again will offer the best grip and increased durability.
Decals: All change on the Moto2 rears
In response to requests from the fans, Dunlop has simplified its colour coding across Moto2, starting with the opening race in Qatar. Dunlop takes a different selection of tyre options to each event for the riders and teams to select from, however this year only the softest option tyre of that weekend’s range will be colour coded bright yellow. This year, the change only applies to Moto2, but Dunlop will seek feedback from fans and commentators before deciding on implementing a similar system in Moto3 next year.
Tracks: New For 2018
The new timetable for Qatar isn’t the only new element for Dunlop to consider in 2018. Two of the circuits are being completely resurfaced; Catalunya and Silverstone which offers up a different challenge. Dunlop has altered its allocation to accommodate the demands expected from the aggressive tarmac surface. There’s also a brand-new track in Thailand, the Buriram International Circuit, which greets the lightweight teams and riders for the very first time when they arrive for the event in October. The track will be completely new for Dunlop, as there has been no pre-season testing, but they remain confident of bringing the best options for the event.
Dunlop’s Forever Forward Award will continue in 2018, where points are awarded for every place gain from start to finish position in Moto2 and Moto3 races. The award rewards riders for their fightbacks from adversity, while recognising their talent and skill to progress through the races, and Moto2 and Moto3 are renowned for their close racing. 2017 Mugello winner Andrea Migno topped the table last year, the Moto3 racer with a staggering 137 place gains beating the tally of previous winners Philippe Oettl (132), and Fabio Giannantonio (113).
Round 1: Qatar 18 March 2018
- Qatar became the first event to host a night time Grand Prix in 2008, but in a change to the timetable this year, the majority of Moto2 and Moto3 running will be held in daylight
- As a result, Dunlop will be taking its wet allocation to Qatar for use if required during wet daylight running
- The 5.380km track features a mix of medium and high-speed corners, with the main straight over one kilometre long
Qatar Track Facts:
- Length: 5.380km
- Left Turns: 6
- Right Turns: 10
- Energy level: mid/high
- Left:right bias 40%/60%
Tyre Allocation Qatar:
Front: Medium '2' (black on yellow)
Rear: Hard ‘4’ (black on yellow) / Extra Hard ‘S1’
Front: Soft (black on yellow) / Medium (black on silver)
Rear: Medium ‘M1’ (black on silver / Hard 'H3' (yellow on black)
Qatar 2017 Highlights
- All qualifying sessions across Moto3 and Moto2 were cancelled after heavy rainfall and thunderstorms flooded the track and was consequently deemed unsafe by the safety committee
- As a result grid positions were determined by combined times from the practice sessions
- Joan Mir won the first Moto3 race of the season, which was close fought from start to finish
- In Moto3, the medium option proved the most popular choice of tyre for the race
- Franco Morbidelli took his first Moto2 victory, by over two seconds, paving the way for a commanding season ahead
- All Moto2 riders selected the medium compound rear tyre where performance was excellent, with only 0.5 of a second drop during the race
James BaileyEMEAUnited Kingdomjames@clivereeves.com44 790 4114 414