Moto2, Moto3 season gets back underway with Jerez double-header
- Moto2 and Moto3 back in action after four-month break
- Dunlop engineers predict riders’ tyre choices
- Ambient temperatures set to reach 40ºC
The FIM Moto2™ and Moto3™ World Championships roar back into action this weekend after a break of over four months and Dunlop is ready to support teams in what is expected to be one of the hottest race weekends of the season.
Moto2 and Moto3 competitors have so far only raced once this year, in the season-opening QNB Grand Prix of Qatar in early March, which was held just before restrictions on travel and events were put in place around the world in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The revised Moto2 and Moto3 calendars now see both championships return to action at Circuito de Jerez in Andalusia for the Gran Premio Red Bull de España on 19 July, the first half of a double-header that is resumed at the same track on 26 July.
Tetsuta Nagashima (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and Albert Arenas (Aspar Team Gaviota) lead the Moto2 and Moto3 standings after their wins in Qatar but, as always, both classes are expected to produce a lot of surprises at Jerez.
As exclusive tyre supplier to both categories, Dunlop is adopting a proven approach to the two Grands Prix at Jerez, facilitating teams’ return to the paddock after a lengthy break and difficult period for all.
Stephen Bickley, Senior Race Engineer explains: “With all the unknowns and confusion from the current situation, we want to keep everything as simple as possible for everyone involved. In Moto2, we introduced a larger front tyre at Qatar, going from 120/75R17 to 125/75R17, and that was instantly a success. We want to build on this at Jerez, where last year we also debuted a larger rear tyre. The new 2020 front is a very good match with that rear tyre, and teams are finding it helps with consistency and lap times.”
At Qatar the 2020 pole time was 0.6 km/h faster than the previous year and a full 5 km/h faster than in Moto2’s debut year a decade ago, showing the relentless pace improvement in this highly competitive category.
Hot weather to play a major role
Heat will be a major factor at Jerez, with ambient temperatures of up to 40ºC forecasted, compared to last year’s peak of around 26ºC. Moving the race from early May to mid-late July has made a considerable change to weather conditions, and is likely to make this one of the hottest races of the season under the Spanish sun.
Moto2 teams will have the Medium and Hard front compounds and Medium and Medium-Hard rear compounds to choose from. The Medium specs are expected to be the most popular choice on both wheels, but teams might opt for the Hard front tyre to benefit from more stability in the track’s heavy braking zones given the higher temperatures.
Bickley notes Jerez’s Turns 3 and 4, a pair of sweeping left-handers, as the most challenging section of the 4.4 km track for tyre performance: “It’s mostly a right-hand turn circuit, which means that even when you are generating a lot of heat and energy through Turns 3 and 4, it doesn’t negatively impact the tyres because it is on the non-working side for most of the lap. That's why we've chosen compounds and specifications that have been proven to tackle the challenges of the heat, fast corners and heavy braking and traction zones.”
Rider preference key to Moto3 tyre choices
Riders in the lightweight Moto3 category can choose between Soft and Medium front tyres and Soft and Hard rear tyres at every race this season. It’s expected that each rider’s personal preference will dictate their choices at Jerez, with benefits to be had from both harder and softer compounds.
Gary Purdy, Race Service Engineer, says: “It’s all about rider choice in Moto3. Some will prefer the stability of the harder compounds but others will want the additional grip from the Soft tyres.”
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 winning teams 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.