Dunlop has been hard at work testing its tyres with Honda Racing and Padgett’s Racing at Castle Combe circuit – ahead of the roads season kicking off in earnest.
The testing gave Dunlop the chance to dial in the tyre options it’ll have available, allowing the most successful tyre manufacturer in the history of the Isle of Man TT to pick ‘the right tyre for the job’ when the event gets underway next month.
Rider feedback is central to understanding which compounds work best around the complex 37.733 mile course, taking into account the performance characteristics of each bike and rider combination, and maximising tyre stability and durability. And so, Honda Racing’s Lee Johnston and Padgett’s Racing rider Conor Cummins were on hand to put the tyres through their pace – and the pair of them reported excellent grip and stability across both slick KR106/KR108 and treaded options.
Pat Walsh, Event Leader at Dunlop Motorcycle said: “Our 2018 tyre testing programme has been completed with our partner teams and once again it proved very positive from all sides. We tried a combination of different compounds and constructions across the main classes, which were all well received by the riders and teams, and have allowed us to select the tyres we’ll take to the NW200 and Isle of Man TT. Rider feedback is fundamental to that decision, to ensure they have the best available option for every race. Despite the changeable conditions, we were able to complete a significant number of laps and fulfil our objective.”
Lee Johnston, Honda Racing said: “The lap times have improved significantly from last year, when it was much hotter. We’re lapping now as quick on the new Fireblade, as I did on the older model last year. The wind was a bit of factor on Wednesday, and we didn’t get much chance to push on with the fronts particularly, but the rears have definitely got good grip and stability. On the roads that’s all you really want is for the bike to be stable and have good drive grip. I’m feeling really good now ahead of the North West 200 and IOMTT, it’s the first time in two years I’m without any injuries and I’m feeling fit and well in myself and really looking forward to going racing.”
Conor Cummins, Padgett’s Racing: “It’s been a really productive test and we got in about 150 laps over the two days. We tested a number of different compounds and it’s been really positive. All the tyres have been a step forward. We tried all the treaded tyres and got some mega feedback as we’ve been working with the Dunlop guys, and numerous front slick compounds, and now have a good plan for the roads. The feel is a massive step forward, but to be honest, we’ve also got a really good chassis, so I’m feeling positive ahead of the NW200 and IOMTT.”
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