MotoAmerica to Run Dunlop Qualifying Tires During Superpole 2
Qualifying has been one of the highlights in MotoGP, World Superbike and the heydays of AMA SuperBike for as long as I can remember. Prior to the race, I’d find myself scouring the latest results to see who was able to post the fastest time, and then the wheels of speculation would begin to turn.
Traditionally, qualifying has been a session where all bikes are making use of the softest rear tire that they have available in what has become known as the Qualifying tire or the “Q.”
MotoAmerica and Dunlop will now bring the “Q” back to the MotoAmerica Superbike Championship with their announcement that qualifying tires will be part of Superpole 2 for the 2016 season. It all kicks off at Circuit of The Americas, April 8-10, in Austin, Texas.
Qualifying tires are meant for one express purpose: Putting up the fastest lap possibly by allowing the highest amount of grip possible. This is achieved by using an extremely soft tire compound. The downside to this is that it has an incredibly short lifespan.
According to Tony Romo, a Dunlop Motorsports Technician, the qualifying tire that riders will be using is good for four laps. Two laps to settle in and warm up the tire, one lap to lay down a time and one lap to bring it all back in. That seems like a lot of effort to expend on a single lap but the gains are there. Romo claims that they’ve seen numbers up to a second lower than what is used in race conditions and a one second margin is huge in motor sports.
The 10 riders who transfer directly from Free Practice 3 to Superpole 2 will be allowed to use the Dunlop qualifying tire while they compete for the top 12 spots in the grid. The same will can be said for the two riders who transfer from Superpole 1 to Superpole 2. All 12 riders in Superpole 2 will be using the qualifying tire, which means that in terms of grip, the field is even.
The use of the qualifying tires will definitely bring more excitement to the MotoAmerica Superpole 2 session as riders scramble to get the soft-compound tires on their bikes at just the right time to try and secure pole position.
Tire management has been a hotly contested point of discussion over the past few decades. As tire technology has advanced, it has allowed motorsports to achieve new levels of power in their machines and that means, more excitement will be brought to the MotoAmerica Superpole 2 sessions.
“There’s nothing like having more grip,” said MotoAmerica President and three-time 500cc World Champion Wayne Rainey. “More grip means faster lap times and Dunlop qualifying tires provide that grip. I think it’s important for our riders to get used to managing the qualifying tires. They provide a sensation like no other and you can use the extra grip to find new ways to go faster. Our fans are going to enjoy the extra excitement that having the qualifying tires in the final Superpole session bring to the show, and I think a lot of track records will be broken this year.”
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