This year marks Dunlop’s tenth as the official tyre partner to the Moto2 class, a role which it took on after becoming the most successful tyre maker in the former open-competition 250GP class.
Racing is due to get underway this weekend at Qatar’s Losail Circuit, at Dunlop have been extremely busy in the off-season helping teams and riders to get the most out fo their new Triumph-engined machines.
Based around the Hinckley firm’s Street Triple 765, the 3-cylinder engine is somewhat different to the inline-4 600cc Honda power plant that preceded it. There’s an increase in power of around 8bhp, but also more torque at the lower end of the rev range, which is making for increased corner exit speeds.
This step-up in bike performance has seen Dunlop engineers work hard on a new tyre solution which will allow riders to make the most of their race machines in 2019.
Stephen Bickley, senior race engineer at Dunlop, has been involved in the test programme and commented:
“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 per cent 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.”
In recent testing at Jerez, both Brad Binder and Sam Lowes went more than 0.9s faster than the qualifying time for pole in 2018 as the former set a new lap record. Overall, the top twenty riders were covered by less than a second, so it’s going to be another season of close, exciting racing!
It’s also a similar story in Moto3, with the top 11 riders again separated by less than a second at Jerez in testing.