Dunlop Test Team starts 2019 with a win
Xavier Simeon wins as ‘wild card’ entry in French Superbike Championship
Dunlop Test Team testing new tyre technology in high-level racing.
Dunlop’s top-level hypersport and race tyre development require thousands of laps of testing and evaluation. This normally happens behind closed doors in private test sessions, but last weekend Dunlop took the step of entering their test bike in one of the toughest championships in the world - the French Superbike Championship.
With Dunlop FIM Endurance World Championship rider and former MotoGP star, Xavier Simeon, on the Yamaha YZF-R1 for this weekend, hopes were high for a strong result. More importantly, it was an opportunity to prove the latest specification Dunlop Superbike tyres in a premier level race.
The Belgian dominated qualifying, but retired in race one. In the second race, Simeon was engaged in a thrilling five-way battle for victory before pulling away in the later stages of the race to win by 3 seconds from Mathieu Gines.
Simeon said: "We could have had a perfect weekend having dominated every part of qualifying. I made a mistake in race one. For the second race, I changed my strategy. I was able to get in the lead and create a comfortable gap. I thank Dunlop for their great work, the tyres worked really well. I am also very happy with the Yamaha, for me it's a novelty to go back to production based bikes and I had a lot of fun."
Dunlop’s Technology Director, Sebastien Montet, explained the importance of real racing to tyre development: “When we see the performance of high-potential new developments in private tests, running our test bike in races gives us the opportunity to evaluate the performance before releasing them to all customer teams. Running with a top-level rider in a real race allows us to extract the last 5% of performance which you don’t always see in a testing session.”
The Yamaha is part of Dunlop’s own Test Team fleet, which regularly operates at their Proving Grounds in Mireval, France. In the coming weeks, Dunlop will announce which other events and championships will be entered. Dunlop also intends to use different riders later this season in order to get a wide range of top-level rider feedback.
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