Moto2, Moto3 riders to soften approach in Japan

Dunlop has announced a softer set of compounds than in 2012 for the Japanese Moto2 and Moto3 races. The announcement comes one week after the Australian grand prix at Phillip Island, where the new aggressive track surface led to shortened races in both the Moto2 and Bridgestone-supplied MotoGP. The fact that Dunlop is switching to much softer tyres at Motegi shows how much of an anomaly Phillip Island was – you might have expected the tyre suppliers to play it safe, after their rubber could not last the distance in Australia. However, with no such problems elsewhere, the compounds that have served the 2013 series well are being entrusted with the next round, and Dunlop expects the latest tyres to increase teams’ pace again.

The 4.801km circuit has 14 corners, eight right and six left. It has a ‘stop-start’ character to the lap with long straights and slower, more technical corners. This tends to suit the softer compounds. The Dunlop choices focus on providing the front tyre stability required for hard braking, while the softer rear provides the necessary traction to get the bikes out of the corners on maximum acceleration.

The tyre allocation for Moto2 comprises:

  • Fronts 120/75R17, 302 (medium) and 345 (hard)
  • Rears, 195/75R17, 3854 (soft) and 3855 (medium)

For Moto3, Dunlop will supply:

  • Fronts: 95/75R17, M and H
  • Rears: 115/75R17 , S and M

Both classes will have the usual three sets of wets available and if all practice sessions are wet one more set will be made available.

Clinton Howe, operations manager Motorcycle Grand Prix: “After a hectic weekend in Phillip Island, we are confident of our tyre choices for the Motegi Circuit. We know the circuit layout well and always have good information coming back to us from our involvement in Japanese championships about circuit changes or characteristics.

“When we reflect on the Phillip Island GP, our key learning is the fact that the circuit had changed so much from when our Australian Super Bike riders were there in February 2013 just a month after resurfacing. In those tests and races, tyre feedback was said to be at a good level and tyre degradation and heating was just above normal. We were fortunate to have ASBK with us again last weekend as the support race, and their feedback was that the track had changed for the worse regarding its abrasion characteristics. We reacted quickly, airfreighting tyres from Europe, enabling competitors to finish the shortened Moto2 race safely.

On the positive side, the Moto3 race was the only race to run full distance thanks to the durability of the hard Dunlop tires and we will take learnings from this for 2014.

“In Motegi, the tyre temperatures will be significantly lower in the rears and any set up issues with bikes are normally about how well the riders can stop the bike and then get the bikes out of the relatively slow corners as fast as possible.

“There’s a possibility of the Moto2 championship being finalised here after Scott Redding’s bad luck last week. If Scott does not score points this weekend and Pol Espargaro scores 10 or more than Scott then the championship will be Pol’s.”

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