Dunlop introduces brand-new front tyres under the lights in Qatar
Moto2 race to headline opening GP weekend
Larger front tyre features a new compound to improve braking
SuperSoft and Medium front tyre specifications will feature in Qatar
The FIM Moto2™ and Moto3™ World Championships seasons start in Qatar on March 8. The Losail International Circuit plays host to 62 of the world’s fastest riders, kicking off a season that culminates in Valencia on November 15.
Featuring 16 turns, six left and ten right, the 5.3km (3.2miles) Losail International Circuit provides a stern test for riders, teams and tyre manufacturers. As a night race, the drop in track temperature creates a challenge for tyre warm-up and heat generation. In testing, there was 38c to 18c meaning Dunlop has to develop a compound with a versatile range of performance.
Moto2 becomes headline act
Due to the coronavirus-related travel restrictions forcing the cancellation of the MotoGP category, the Moto2 race will become the headline race. The riders and teams were already in Qatar having been testing last week, so are unaffected by the restriction. Fans will be able to experience a new level in Moto2 pace, thanks in part to the intensive tyre development from Dunlop.
In testing, Jorge Navarro (Beta Tools Speed Up) topped the times. His 1.58.52 lap, set on a race-length run, was not only faster than the 2019 lap record, but it was less than a second away from several of the fastest laps in the MotoGP race of 2010. This illustrates the improvement in pace in a decade of Dunlop-equipped Moto2 racing.
Larger front tyre - later braking and increased stability
After extensive testing and positive feedback from Dunlop test riders Xavier Simeon and Nico Terol, who work closely with the tyre research & development team, Dunlop has decided to introduce a larger tyre size for the 2020 season. In Qatar, these will be available in SuperSoft and Medium compounds.
Last year, Dunlop increased the size of the rear tyre and the new larger front will work in harmony with this. One feature of the new Dunlop front is the development of a larger footprint with a bigger surface area, generating more grip and stability through the corners. Another area of development is the introduction of a new compound that allows for later and harder braking compared to the previous generation of fronts.
Stephen Bickley, Senior Race Engineer, explains the technology behind the brand new front tyre range: “The new Moto2 front is a larger 125/75R17, replacing the previous 120/75R17, but the dimensions are not the only difference with the new tyre. The 2020 front range features a new compound and a brand-new carcass incorporating Jointless Belt technology (JLB). This provides reinforcement in the tyre construction which controls the growth of the tyre at speed, improving handling.
“From the start of the European season, the 2020 front tyre range will be simplified with three options: Soft, Medium and Hard.”
One of the most demanding corners at Qatar is the long, linked curve from Turn 10 to 11. It’s taken as one curve and means riders are working the left-hand side of the tyre for over half a kilometre, with peak tyre temperatures of over 120c, on a circuit where the majority of corners are right-handers. Dunlop has worked on the tyre design to retain heat throughout the lap so the riders are able to tackle this challenge with confidence.
Rear tyre development continues
Dunlop’s continuous tyre development is not just focused on the front tyre performance. Dunlop is developing a brand new SuperSoft rear tyre for the Austrian and Japanese GPs but may introduce it earlier in the season. At Losail, the Moto2 riders will have the choice between a Medium and Medium-Hard specification.
Moto3 - tyre choice spices up race strategy
For the Moto3™ season, Dunlop will continue to supply soft and hard specifications of front and rear tyres to the 32 riders competing across 20 rounds in 2020. The distinct differences between the tyres force teams to make strategy choices, further spicing up one of the most intensely-fought championships in motorsport.
Gary Purdy, Dunlop’s Lead Trackside Support Engineer, describes the Moto3™ tyre allocation: “For 2020 we have decided to continue with the soft and hard tyre allocation after an extremely positive response from riders and teams in 2019. The soft and hard tyre allocation has created more variation and overtaking throughout a highly competitive season.”
Qatar Track Facts:
Left Turns: 6 Right Turns: 10
Energy level: mid/high
Left: right bias 40%/60%
Dunlop Europe is one of the world's leading manufacturers of motorcycle tyres with an impressive track record of motorsport successes. Dunlop Europe is a partner to winning teams in the Endurance World Championship, the official tyre supplier to the FIM Moto2 and Moto3 World Championship and the most successful tyre brand in the history of the Isle of Man TT. Off-road, Dunlop is the choice of MXGP race winners and champions.