10:28 AM

Dunlop Test Team to go Superbike Racing


  • Dunlop to enter their test team Yamaha in selected races
  • Objective of testing new technology in race environment


It is not unusual for tyre companies to go testing in private, often on secret test tracks. Dunlop is no exception. Their test tyres clock up over 100,000 kilometres each year on the demanding curves of their Mireval test track in South West France. However, Dunlop are going a step further and testing their latest technology in real races.

Today, Dunlop announced that their in-house test team will enter selected Superbike Championship races with their Yamaha YZF-R1 development bike. The R1 is a 2017 specification race bike with selected 2018 updates.

“We have some significant new technology to introduce into our 2019 Dunlop range. Whilst we do extensive testing with partner teams , such as Honda, Suzuki SERT and GMT94 Yamaha in the FIM Endurance World Championship (EWC), we decided it would be beneficial to also race our own Yamaha to get consistent, repeatable results on a bike where we also manage the full ‘set up’ including suspension and electronic settings” stated Wim Van Achter, Motorsport Sales Manager, Dunlop Motorcycle Europe

The Yamaha will be used to test Dunlop’s latest ideas for both National Superbike and Endurance Racing. “We are working on both front and rear tyre development  - including advanced new materials and compounds. We may have won more ‘open competition’ Endurance World Championships than any other tyre company,  but we never stand still. This will accelerate our development for our 2019 tyre range for both Sprint Superbike and Endurance races” added Wim.

Dunlop believe that testing the development tyres in real races will help validate their latest concepts. “In the heat of real competition, riders often push harder for longer than in a controlled test session. This will allow us to learn about the new tyre performance in a genuine race environment and benchmark our test tyres against the both the current Dunlop race range and our competitors” added Stephen Bickley, Senior Engineer, Race Engineering at Dunlop Europe.

The public debut for the Dunlop Test Team will be in the Italian CIV Superbike championship at Imola on 23/24 June. The Dunlop Yamaha will be piloted by Julien da Costa. The former Endurance World Champion is vastly experienced, having raced a variety of superbikes in both EWC and National Superbike racing in recent years including winning several championships.

Da Costa has been an integral part of Dunlop’s test team, working alongside other champions such as 125GP World Champion, Nico Terol.

“To test our development tyres to the maximum, we need world-class quality riders. We are fortunate to have a truly elite roster of riders who give us the experience and feedback we need to develop” concluded Wim.

After Imola, the Dunlop Test Team will announce which other races they will compete in. Dunlop are considering additional CIV races in addition to other ‘open competition’ championships, such as French Superbike and the Spanish Stock 1000 RFME series.