Dunlop pre-season testing form promises to deliver close Moto2 and Moto3 campaigns
The 2017 FIM Moto2™ and Moto3™ World Championships begin in earnest on 26 March, but before that the teams will embark on their final test this week ahead of the night races in Qatar. In perfect weather conditions for the first official testing in Jerez last week, which pitched all the 2017 contenders together for the first time since last season, five Moto2 riders lapped faster than the 2016 pole time of Sam Lowes. Alex Marquez set the first sub 1:42 sec lap, his time of 1:41.989 posted on the final day. Nicola Bulega headed the Moto3 times after three days, his fastest lap of 1:46.232 marginally slower than his 1:46.223 pole time last year. Qatar hosts the final test on Friday, before next weekend’s race, which promises to deliver another close-fought battle.
2017 Tyre Specifications
The 2017 specification tyres remain similar to last season, utilising the No.2 fronts in Moto2, and with seven pieces allocated to each team. There will be several options for the rears, each carefully selected by the experienced Dunlop engineers to cater for the demands of the different tracks and surfaces. Moto3 equally will feature the same tyres that were successfully used last year, all of which offer increased durability for the ultra-competitive lightweight class.
One change for 2017 is the introduction of new decals for the rear Dunlop tyres. The brightly coloured marking will make it easier for teams, fans and media alike to distinguish between them.
|MSO Supersoft (blank)||Soft ‘S’/’S1’ (black on yellow)|
|Soft ’1’ (fluorescent green on black)||Medium ‘M’/’M1’ (black on silver)|
|Medium ’2’ (black on silver) (front only)||Hard ’H3’ (fluorescent yellow on black)|
|Medium ’3’ (fluorescent yellow on black)|
|Hard ’4’ (fluorescent white on black)|
|Special Hard ‘S1’ (blank)|
|Special Hard ‘S2’ (grey on black)|
Tracks: New For 2017
While there are no new tracks on the 2017 schedule, the resurfaced Le Mans, venue for round five will offer up a new challenge for the engineers, teams and riders. To compensate for that, Dunlop has altered the allocation to accommodate the demands expected from the aggressive tarmac surface.
The 2017 schedule features 18 rounds around the world which starts once again with three flyaway events, Qatar, Argentina and America, before embarking on its European leg in Jerez on May 7. Returning to overseas racing in Japan on 15 October and taking in Australia and Malaysia, the season reaches its conclusion in Valencia on 12 November.
Returning for 2017 is the Dunlop Forever Forward Award which rewards riders for their fightbacks from adversity and recognises their talent and skill to progress through the races. Points are awarded for every place gain from start position to finish position, and the close racing element of Moto2 and Moto3 ensures an incredible number of overtaking manoeuvres are achieved across the season. Last year Moto3 rookie Fabio di Giannantonio lifted the crown with 113 place gains across the 18 races.
Round 1: Qatar 26 March 2017
- Losail International Circuit lies on the outskirts of Doha, the capital city of Qatar
- Qatar became the first event to host a night time Grand Prix in 2008, and has continued every year since
- The 5.4km track features a mix of medium and high-speed corners, with the main straight over one kilometre long
- The event is the only race where no wet tyres are used, as glare from the floodlights on a wet track prevents racing
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 silver)
Rear: Medium ‘3’ (yellow on black) / Hard ’S1’ (blank)
Front: Soft (black on yellow) / Medium (black on silver)
Rear: Soft ‘S1’ (black on yellow) / Medium 'M1' (black on silver)
Qatar 2016 Highlights
- Jonas Folger set a new pole record for Moto2, on the second lap of a five lap run, with a time of 1’59.052
- Four Moto2 riders were under the previous year’s pole time
- The fastest nine in 2016 were under the 2015 lap record
- Sam Lowes set his fastest lap, a new race record on the final lap of the race
- The race was five seconds faster than in 2015, with five riders under the LR
- At the end of Moto3 qualifying, 19 riders were within one second of each other
- In the race, the first 16 were under the 2015 race winner’s time, which was 13 second faster than the previous year