Dunlop looks ahead to Moto2™, Moto3™ season starting in Qatar
- Dunlop embarks on 12th and 10th season as Moto2™, Moto3™ tyre supplier
- Two new Moto2 tyres to improve performance at several tracks
- Qatar double-header kicks off 2021 campaign
The 2021 FIM Moto2™ and Moto3™ World Championship seasons begin this weekend (26-28 March) with the Barwa Grand Prix of Qatar, where Dunlop embarks on its respective 12th and 10th year as exclusive tyre supplier to the two categories.
To prepare for the season ahead, Moto2™ and Moto3™ teams recently completed a three-day test at the Losail International Circuit outside the Qatari capital Doha. This provided an opportunity for teams to get accustomed to the range of Dunlop tyres available to them, and for Dunlop’s engineers to assimilate with newcomers to both championships.
Two new compounds in Moto2™ this season
The intermediate Moto2™ class features four manufacturers, each using a 765cc three-cylinder engine produced by Triumph. Throughout the season, the 30 riders in this category will have a range of three Dunlop front tyres and five rear tyres. This variety allows Dunlop to tailor the tyres to the characteristics of each track, and gives teams the opportunity to make strategy calls based on tyre performance. Out of that range, teams will have access to two front and two rear specifications at each event.
This year, Dunlop is introducing two new rear specifications. One is a ‘supersoft’ compound to give maximum grip at ‘stop-start’ tracks, and the other is an asymmetric hard/soft compound with different characteristics on each side of the tyre. This is suited to Phillip Island and Sachsenring, two circuits that put a lot more pressure on the left-side of the tyre than the right.
Stephen Bickley, Senior Race Engineer, Dunlop explains: “A track like Phillip Island or Sachsenring generates a lot of energy on the left side of the tyre. Our new asymmetric rear tyre has a harder compound on the left and a softer compound on the right so, when it balances out, both sides last the race distance. The new supersoft tyre is designed for tracks like Red Bull Ring, Buriram and Motegi. Previously, our softest tyre could have done almost two race distances on tracks like those, so it made sense to extract even more grip out of an even softer compound.”
The last two seasons have seen a huge increase in Moto2™ performance. This is in no small part because of Dunlop’s tyre developments, including the introduction of a new rear tyre size in 2019 and a larger front tyre in 2020.
Bickley adds: “If you look over the past two years, you see the amount of lap records broken in Moto2™. New race lap records were set on 20 occasions, and all-time records 23 times. We always want to keep pushing and developing the tyres, and the two new rear specifications for 2021 will help teams at some of the most challenging tracks on the calendar.”
High level of competition in Moto3™
Moto3™ is the lightweight class but its wheel-to-wheel action produces some of the closest racing in motorsport. Twenty-eight riders will race these 250cc bikes this season and, with 10 different winners in 15 races last year, the level of competition is high.
Gary Purdy, Race Service Engineer, Dunlop explains: “The teams are very well accustomed to our tyres; they understand how they work and we know how they like to work. We provide teams with two front and two rear specifications, which are all available at every race.”
Full season ahead
The upcoming season somewhat marks a return to a slightly more normal schedule for Moto2™ and Moto3™ teams after last year’s disrupted and truncated calendar that was focused predominantly around Europe. The season is currently planned to include 19 races held between March and November, but the ongoing difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic mean that the entire paddock has to prepare for the unexpected in a world where lockdowns and border restrictions are changing regularly.
This weekend’s Barwa Grand Prix of Qatar will be followed by another race on the Middle Eastern circuit, the Grand Prix of Doha on 2-4 April. Both categories will race in the late afternoon, under the sunset.
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 technical partner of leading Endurance World Championship teams, the official tyre supplier to the FIM Moto2 and Moto3 World Championships 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.