Dunlop ready for challenge of the new-generation Moto2
The FIM Moto2™ and Moto3™ World Championships seasons start in Qatar on 10th March, with practice commencing on 8th March. This marks the beginning of a 19 round season for the two classes culminating in Valencia, Spain in November.
This is the 10th season of Moto2™ and Dunlop has been the Official Tyre Partner since its inception, being chosen after becoming the most successful tyre in the open-competition 250GP class that preceded it.
The biggest change in Moto2™ is the introduction of a new engine manufacturer. All the bikes will use a Triumph race engine, based on their Street Triple 765 powerplant. This 3 cylinder engine has a number of different characteristics to the inline-4 Honda 600cc engine used for the first decade of the category. Power has increased by around 8bhp, but the most significant change is that the torque is delivered lower down the rev range. This means that riders are experiencing higher corner exit speeds.
For Dunlop, it was important to ensure that the Moto2™ tyre range suited the step-up in bike performance. Stephen Bickley, Senior Race Engineer, has been involved in the test programme He said: “Dunlop’s engineers have been following the progress of the new bikes closely since the middle of 2018, supporting the teams whilst gathering information to understand how to optimise the 2019 bikes and tyres.
“We have also been evaluating a new larger rear tyre, which will see footprint increase of over 15% from the existing tyre and an optimised pressure distribution to complement the new bikes demands. We plan to introduce the new tyre later in the season, giving the teams the chance to familiarise themselves with the new engines and electronics before bringing a new tyre into the mix.”
Pre-season testing - nearly a second a lap faster
The pre-season test in Jerez showed how the Moto2 pace is hotting up. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) just pipped Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) by 0.007s, both riders over 0.9s faster than the 2018 pole position time. The competitiveness of the pack was proven by the top 20 being less than a second from Binder’s record lap.
In the lightweight Moto3TM category, testing has shown that the trademark close racing and slipstreaming battles are set to continue, with the top 11 riders at the Jerez test also being covered by less than a second.
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 technical partner of Suzuki Endurance Race Team and Honda Racing in Endurance World Championship Racing, 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.