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Mar 2, 2001

Higbee Tests New Dunlop Special Daytona Tires For Formula USA While Michelin Drops The Ball

Race Tire Service's Steve Brubaker said that Dunlop has developed a range of special, new D208 DOT-labeled Daytona tires for Machines running in high-horsepower, big-bike, DOT-tire classes like Formula USA's Unlimited Superbike. According to Brubaker, there are single and dual-compound versions of the new tire along with new slicks for the Daytona 200.

KWS Motorsports/ Millenium Technologies' Shawn Higbee tested the new DOT-labelled Dunlop tires at Daytona in Thursday's Engine Ice 200-Mile Team Challenge. Higbee ran a string of 10 laps in the 1:54.9 – 1:55.2 range on his Suzuki GSX-R750, before crashing heavily in a non-tire-related crash in turn one. After the testing, KWS's Kevin Hunt said that he felt that Dunlop riders were 5-10 percent ahead of where they were tire-wise at the end of the 2000 season.

Higbee will do the entire six-race F-USA series with KWS/ Millenium but will not see much, if any, AMA competition. "I'll be too busy working on the development team for the VR1000," explained Harley-Davidson / Buell test rider Higbee."

Meanwhile, Michelin North America completely dropped the ball and not only did not develop any new tires for Daytona, but also did not even import any of the tires used by Team Valvoline EMGO Suzuki's John Hopkins and Grant Lopez to win Formula USA and AMA 750cc Supersport races at Daytona in 2000, according to Michelin racing tire distributor Walt Schaefer.

"Michelin sent us nothing," said Schaefer. "We've got nothing this year. We've got a handful of stuff left over from last fall."

Asked what he was going to do for the Formula USA races at Daytona, Schaefer said "We're gonna suck. We asked for the tire we won on last year and they didn't send any. They must be working on something new. There will probably be something on TV next week at the first World Supersport round about a new tire. But in the meantime, everybody racing on Michelins here in the U.S. is screwed for Daytona Formula USA and AMA."