Posted: 03 Nov 2013
Ahead of every racing event, tyre choice is undoubtedly one of the most important considerations for riders and teams. While many factors come into play when selecting the best rubber for a race, including weather conditions and track surface, it’s not unusual to see some of the top riders in the premier classes competing on different brands and options to suit their capabilities.
However, in the classes that use a solo tyre manufacturer, such as Dunlop in the Moto2 and Moto3 Championships, you’d think the tyre selection process at every round would be easier. However, choosing the right rubber for the Moto2 and Moto3 Championships is by no means straight forward as there are still numerous compounds for teams to consider.
In Moto2 tyre trends recently released by Dunlop, podium tyre choice was identical in proportions over the season (in the events up until Valencia) although the top three riders chose different options with the soft tyre winning five races, the hard tyre four and the medium three. Two races were won on the medium-hard compound with the soft+ and hard+ extremes scoring one victory apiece.
In addition, the top six finishers only made the same tyre choice nine times (although the top three riders in the championship agreed on tyre choice 8 out of 12 times) and Pol Espargaro’s tyre choices differed from Scott Redding’s just four times: Qatar (where he won), Le Mans (20th), Mugello (4th) and Sachsenring (3rd). Of the top three riders, Espargaro used more soft rear tyres while Redding made more use of the hard option with Esteve Rabat’s use lying between the two.
Meanwhile in Moto3, the top three riders made identical tyre choices with the exception of Luis Salom, who chose a hard rear tyre for Indianapolis where he finished fifth. It wasn’t all similar choices though: the top ten riders only agreed on tyre choice in four of the 16 events in the events leading up to the finale at Valencia.
The medium compound was universally popular. After Qatar, where the hard rear was the only option chosen by the riders, the medium rear tyre was used by the top-ten riders in the championship for all but seven of the 160 starts. At Qatar the race was won on a medium front and hard rear. The 15 subsequent races were all won with medium tyres front and rear.
Dunlop (and also Bridgestone) came under fire recently at the Australian Grand Prix when the multi-million-pound re-surface of the track coupled with higher-than-anticipated ambient temperatures caused fears of major tyre issues prior to the MotoGP and Moto2. The subsequent MotoGP and Moto2 races were re-formatted and shortened to 26 and 13 laps respectively.