Moto2 – Dunlop Catalunya Preview
Dunlop returns to Spain and Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya, for the fifth round of the 2011 Moto2 Championship, which takes place on June 3-5 where Dunlop’s dual compound rear tyre will make its debut this year.
Located 30km north-east of Barcelona, the track is a punishing venue where the right hand side of the tyres take a lot of abuse from the high speed turns.
Dunlop will bring the dual compound W919 as the main specification rear tyre with the three series 3868 as a softer second option. For the front, it’s the 753 medium and 717 hard compound.
As a potential new challenge, the Circuit de Catalunya was recently used on May 22 for the Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix, with a new tyre supplier in that sport laying its rubber on track.
“This will be the first time we bring our dual compound rear tyre to a race track this year,” explains Dunlop Motorsport’s Moto2 co-ordinator, Clinton Howe.
“The new W919 is slightly stronger on its non-working side – the left side for this track – which gives it more durability and stability compared to the W745 which was raced by all but ten Moto2 riders at Catalunya last year.”
Dunlop’s dual compound tyre is a direct example of how race tyre technology has fed back into Dunlop’s road tyres, with Multi-Tread technology a feature available for road use.
“The front tyres are a change from those used in 2010, with a stronger soft spec front in 753 than the 6817 that was too soft for any of the 42 riders twelve months ago,” explains Howe.
“The Circuit de Catalunya is always a tough circuit with many fast corners. In particular, turn three really punishes both the both front and rear tyres as the bikes spend a lot of time at high lean angles using the right hand side of the tyre.
“This track is second only to Brno for the energy forces put through right edge, with a significant percentage of a lap spent at almost full lean angle, which really provides a tough test for the rear compound.
“With the circuit used throughout the year it is not as harsh as it could be with its layout and surface. This means you never really face a truly green surface as the track can be quite abrasive. However, for this year we will be the first major event at the track after the recent Formula 1 race.
“The way a tyre reacts with the track surface is partially determined by the chemical reaction of the tyre rubber with the surface, so it is always a learning process when we visit a track which has been used extensively by another tyre manufacturer where their rubber is still on the track.”
After Catalunya Dunlop’s service crew head back to Birmingham for a quick pit stop to refuel and take on new tyres, before heading to Silverstone for the British Grand Prix which takes place that following weekend.
“Any back-to-back series of races is a logistical challenge,” explains Howe. “But at least with Silverstone our tyre production factory, warehouse and distribution facility is located 60 miles away.
“We make all our Moto2 tyres in Birmingham – as well as tyres for a very wide range of motor sport activities – so it is a real homecoming for them to be used at a race which is only an hour’s journey away.”
The Catalunya GP round of the Moto2 championship starts with practice on Friday June 3, followed by final practice and qualifying on Saturday June 4 and the race itself starting at 11:15 local time on Sunday June 5.