Dunlop Moto2 Motegi Preview
Dunlop’s Moto2 tyres head to Japan for the 14th round of the Moto2 World Championship with the AirAsia Grand Prix of Japan which takes place at Twin Ring Motegi on October 12-14 where a new compound front tyre will be employed with the 717 put on the bench and the 345 called into active service.
Motegi is a ‘stop-start’ circuit without high speed corners and significant lateral loads. This means the tyres’ mechanical grip is particularly called upon over the course of the 4.8km, 14 corner lap. The pit straight is 762 metres long, entered from a hairpin meaning significant traction demands at this point.
The circuit is located amongst the vast natural beauty of the northern Kanto district, and the facility consists of the 4.8km road course as well as a 2.4km oval course. Built by Honda as the ultimate test facility in August 1997, the road circuit became home to MotoGP in 2000.
Dunlop will unleash the Group D Grip Focused combo of the 4886 & 3838 compounds for the high stability and mechanical grip needs of Motegi. The 4886 medium compound was introduced late in the 2011 season with good results. Has the ability to give the rider good initial grip and good life in cool conditions. 3838 is the harder option core compound. Both rear tyres are in the ATR05.
For the front the season regular 717 compound is rested and the 345 is called into action for Motegi, Sepang and Phillip Island. These three different venues will provide Dunlop with significant development data useful for the 2013 season whilst providing riders with a compound which has been developed in the FIM Endurance World Championship and has proved successful in cold and hot conditions while in Japan and in Europe. The 345 will be paired with 717’s erstwhile partner, 302.
Dunlop’s Moto2 Operations Manager, Clinton Howe:
“Motegi is a stop-start track, all slow corners with no real high speed challenges so you need a good balance with mechanical grip and good stability. The stability from the tyres is important as the riders are either standing on the brakes or accelerating hard so they don’t want a tyre with a lot of movement in it.
“In terms of the track surface, Motegi can be abrasive, but because of the slow nature of the turns the tyres do not get punished too much. There is more of a challenge with the temperatures, as these can range from cool in the morning to hot and humid in the afternoon, however we’ve previously found that the track is typically around the 30-35˚C region which is the sweet spot for tyre performance.
“If it rains it’s one of the hardest tracks on front wet tyres, due to the nature of the braking demands, and the heat build-up. We see shape change in the centre of the front wet tyres, but the sides are perfect. The centres almost overheat, so a drying track is the worst scenario.
“It’s exciting for us to be bringing the slightly softer 345 compound to take over from the 717 for the next three races. As we have seen the Moto2 championship evolve, the usual 50/50 split between the two front compounds has the first two years has become one of 70/30 in favour of the 302.
“Moto2 machinery is not as hard on front tyres as it once was and we now see ourselves in a position where we can offer the slightly softer 345 as a substitute to 717. This will give back some edge feeling that the riders lost with the 717 front and hopefully give them confidence to race the harder option at more races.”
Source: Dunlop Motorsport Media