Dunlop – How to choose ‘The Right Tyre For The Job’
Dunlop heads to the Isle of Man TT as the most successful tyre manufacturer in the 110-year history of the world’s greatest road racing event. In this ‘tyre war’ race, an event that features open tyre competition between the manufacturers, Dunlop actively competes to develop motorcycle tyre technology.
As tyre supplier to many of the top teams and riders across the solo classes, last year 12 podium caps were awarded to Dunlop-shod riders including Michael Dunlop who gave Dunlop its 12th consecutive Senior TT win.
Dunlop applies those learnings, and its FIM Endurance World Championship-winning technology, to develop tyres suitable for all classes and all bikes. Choosing the correct tyres for the different conditions is crucial, finding the right tyre for the right bike and rider equally so. Fitting the right tyre can help with enhanced performance, grip and confidence, and that’s where Dunlop comes into its own in producing ‘the right tyre for the job’.
Across the solo classes, Dunlop has a number of tyres available for riders and teams to choose from. The reasons for a particular selection are many and varied. Dunlop will suggest what the engineers feel is the best option, however it’s very much down to the rider to select his preferred choice.
Dunlop’s slick KR106 front and KR108 rears are available in a range of compounds across the different classes, and can be used in Superbike, TT Zero and Senior TT. These are high performance tyres that have been developed from confidential tyre programmes with partner teams before being launched for public use.
Hypersport Speed and Precision
The recently launched Dunlop SportSmart TT, the fourth to be added to the tyre manufacturer’s portfolio in the past year, completes the strategy announced last year of taking a new approach to the segment. Dunlop chose to redefine their hypersport range around the goal of a ‘tyre for every rider’.
Part of the hypersport range, Dunlop’s road-legal treaded D213 GP Pro tyre is the most versatile tyre in use at the TT and one that incorporates Dunlop’s vast experience of the iconic TT Mountain Course. Regulations stipulate that the SuperSport, SuperStock and Lightweight classes run treaded tyres, but such is the versatility of the tyre there are some riders that choose these in all races, from the six lap Senior TT to the single-lap TT Zero.
Pit Stop Demands
There are several reasons why riders choose a particular tyre for a specific race at the TT. The top, experienced riders will usually select a slick racing tyre wherever possible, the compound allowing optimum performance at higher temperatures, and offer the highest levels of grip, braking and handling. Across Superbike and Senior TT, riders will pit twice during the race for fuel and tyre changes. The bikes and wheels are designed with quick-change mechanisms to minimise time lost in the pits.
In Supersport and SuperStock, there is no quick-change mechanism, and the D213 GP Pro is built to last the entire race, such is the durability of the treaded tyre, with the fastest time often coming on the final lap. The D213 GP Pro is the pinnacle of the road legal range and is chosen by the top Superstock and Supersport teams and riders.
Open choices, high pressure
Dunlop offers a wide range of tyres for the TT Zero as the race is focused on development bikes of the future and tyres chosen are dependent on many design features. Usually softer compound tyres are chosen as they warm-up very quickly during the one lap race. Any tyre used in the TT Zero is usually run at a much higher pressure because of the increase in bike weight of the electric bike.
The Lightweight class is open with regards to tyre size and compounds so the pressure is on for the riders to get it right! Here it’s purely down to rider choice and what they feel comfortable with.
To see Dunlop's full tyre range for 2018 click here