Dunlop Prepares for Busiest MotoGP Season Ever
The 2007 MotoGP season starts on March 10th with the Grand Prix in Qatar. This year’s calendar has 18 races, one more than 2006. Between Qatar and Valencia on 4 November, the teams will have raced in Turkey, China, USA, Japan, Malaysia and Australia as well as throughout Europe.
However, for Dunlop and its supported teams in 125cc, 250cc and MotoGP, the season began on 22 January with an intensive pre-season testing schedule which has taken the Dunlop service teams to Malaysia, Qatar, Spain and Portugal – in all 26 days of testing more than one hundred different profile, construction, and compound variants. Qualifying tyres, race tyres and wet tyres – all have been included in the programme.
Dunlop has been a key player in Motorcycle Grand Prix since the World Championship started in 1949. The company has been involved in 113 World Championship titles and 1270 Grand Prix victories, more than all other tyre manufacturers combined.
For 2007, Dunlop has renewed its partnership with the factory supported Yamaha Tech 3 team in the MotoGP class, the Formula 1 of motorcycle racing. Makoto Tamada, with five years and 2 victories behind him in MotoGP, and Sylvain Guintoli , who has moved up from 250cc , are the riders chosen to carry the Dunlop colours.
There are significant technical rule changes to the MotoGP prototype bikes for 2007 – the engine capacity is reduced from 990cc to 800cc, and the fuel tank capacity lowered from 22 to 21 litres – but the preseason testing has shown that lap times will be at least equal to the 2006 machines, the demands put on the tyres may be even greater, and the battle between the factory teams from Ducati, Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha will be more intense than ever.
The teams running on Bridgestone and Michelin face another restriction: they are limited to a total of 31 slick tyres per race weekend, and these tyres have to be marked and allocated before practice begins. The Dunlop Yamaha Tech 3 team is not bound by the new regulation.