Dunlop Moto2 Preview: Phillip Island
Dunlop heads to the tough and testing circuit of Phillip Island for the Australian Grand Prix, the fifteenth round of the 2011 Moto2 Championship, held on October 14-16.
Perched on a fantastic island location with amazing views over the course of its 4.448km clockwise duration, Phillip Island offers a high speed workout for Dunlop’s tyres. Its relentless high-speed nature allied to the notoriously fickle local weather and only one significant braking point on the track, make for a tough ask of the tyre-markers art.
Dunlop will bring the front tyre allocation of the 717 hard compound which has been used at all rounds so far this year allied to the 302 medium which offers similar grip but greater stability than the 753 medium used last time out at Motegi.
For the rear, it’s the choice of two ATR03 asymmetric tyres with the W919 and W943.
“Phillips Island is one of the most demanding circuits we visit,” explains Dunlop Motorsport’s Moto2 co-ordinator, Clinton Howe.
“It’s up there with Sachsenring and Indianapolis, due to the nature of the long left hand entering the start-finish straight, where we can see temperature reach anything up to around 150˚C on the rear tyre.
“This means we take an ATR03 construction which is asymmetric to reduce the heat build-up on the left hand side, and encourage heat creation on the right hand side so the compound is sticky on the rare occasions over the course of a lap when the right side is used.”
Australia may have the reputation of being a locale of fine weather, but Phillip Island can get parky.
“The track temperature very rarely gets above 25˚C,” says Howe. “It’s no surprise that Phillip Island is a favoured resort for penguins!
“The actual track surface is not very abrasive, however because it usually pretty cool it is often difficult to get the tyres up to a good working temperature and in many ways this is one of the biggest challenges.”
Dunlop Motorsport’s Senior Tyre Engineer (Motorcycle Race), Chris Valentine gives his take on the next destination on the Moto2 calendar…
“Philip Island is the second of our left handed circuits and I’m sure all avid MotoGP fans will remember the likes of Rossi smoking the rear tyre through the last turn, which causes both high heat generation and high abrasion for us to contend with.
“With the lack of electronic aids in Moto2 this is probably more of a problem for us than the bigger class so expect some exciting racing from the 600s as they go from smoking hot tyres on the left hand side through the last turn to an almost cold right hand side of the tyre as they enter the fast right hander of turn one at the end of the long start straight.”
The fifteen round of the Moto2 world championship at Phillip Island starts with practice on Friday October 14, followed by qualifying on Saturday and then the race at 12:15 local time on Sunday.
Source: Dunlop Motorsport Media