The FIM Moto2™ and Moto3™ World Championships seasons start in Qatar on 10th March, with practice commencing on 8th March. This marks the beginning of a 19 round season for the two classes culminating in Valencia, Spain in November.

This is the 10th season of Moto2™ and Dunlop has been the Official Tyre Partner since its inception, being chosen after becoming the most successful tyre in the open-competition preceeding 250GP class.

The biggest change in Moto2™ is the introduction of a new engine manufacturer. All the bikes will use a Triumph race engine, based on their Street Triple 765 powerplant. This 3 cylinder engine has a number of different characteristics to the inline-4 Honda 600cc engine used for the first decade of the category. Power has increased by around 8bhp, but the most significant change is that the torque is delivered lower down the rev range. This means that riders are experiencing higher corner exit speeds.

For Dunlop, it was important to ensure that the Moto2™ tyre range suited the step-up in bike performance. Stephen Bickley, Senior Race Engineer, has been involved in the test programme He said: “Dunlop’s engineers have been following the progress of the new bikes closely since the middle of 2018, supporting the teams whilst gathering information to understand how to optimise the 2019 bikes and tyres.

The pre-season test in Jerez showed how the Moto2 pace is hotting up. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) just pipped Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) by 0.007s, both riders over 0.9s faster than the 2018 pole position time. The competitiveness of the pack was proven by the top 20 being less than a second from Binder’s record lap.

In the lightweight Moto3 category, testing has shown that the trademark close racing and slipstreaming battles are set to continue, with the top 11 riders at the Jerez test also being covered by less than a second.

Words and Photos: Dunlop Moto News