This year has seen the most significant change in the FIM Moto2 World Championship since it began a decade ago, with a change of engine supplier.
After switching to Triumph engines for this season, lap times have fallen by more than a second at most circuits visited so far this year. In part this is down to the torque of the triple-cylinder engine, which helps to boost corner exit speeds. To help harness the abilities of the new engine, Dunlop have also contributed to this increase in pace with the introduction of new race rubber, including a wider rear tyre, which have been used since May’s Spanish GP.
At the opening three races, Dunlop used the 2018 spec 195mm width rear tyre before switching to the 200mm spec at Jerez.
Simon Betney, Event Leader for Dunlop stated:
“On like for like compounds, we immediately saw a half-second a lap improvement at most circuits with the wider tyre. More importantly, we saw big gains in consistency and durability, despite the power and torque increase. At Brno, the total GP was 32 seconds faster than in 2018, with average lap times 1.8s faster. At Silverstone, compared to the last race there two years ago, we saw a 40 second faster race time’’
More significantly, the new Dunlop range has shown enduring performance, with riders setting some of their fastest laps towards the end of the race. At the British GP, the new lap record was actually set on the penultimate lap.
Alex Marquez has taken five wins so far this year, more than any other rider, and praised Dunlop’s new rubber:
“When I tried the wider rear at Aragon last year it was immediately better. It gave me more feeling on corner entry. The work Dunlop has also done on the front tyre has made the balance better and gives me more confidence. Dunlop has done a good job.”
More development to come
At many circuits, Dunlop has chosen harder compound tyres than in 2018 as they continue to learn about the dynamics of the latest Moto2 bikes. However, the recent test in Austria gave a hint as to the manufacturer’s plans for next season.
Stephen Bickley, Dunlop’s Senior Race Engineer explained:
“We tested new constructions and compounds, and increased our focus on front tyre development too. The performance of the Moto2 rear is now at a very high level, and as we develop it further we want to ensure the 2020 front complements it to ensure the right balance and handling for riders. We have evolved our Carcass Tension Control System construction and Heat Control Technology compound with the aim of further increasing cornering speeds in 2020. Moto2 bikes are advanced prototypes ridden by some of the best riders in the world. They stop, steer and handle at a level that’s higher than any production derived racer and it allows Dunlop to really test technologies at a very demanding level.”