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When MotoAmerica assumed control of professional motorcycle road racing in America from Daytona Motorsport Group (DMG) at the end of 2014, MotoAmerica inherited a deal making Dunlop the official control tire of the series. That deal expires this season, and MotoAmerica is preparing to announce what brand will supply spec tires going forward.
According to COO Chuck Aksland, MotoAmerica plans to notify bidders of the decision on September 2nd, with a public announcement soon afterwards.
In the meantime, we compared the performance of Dunlop spec tires used in MotoAmerica Superbike to the performance of Pirelli spec tires used in World Superbike, during a combined weekend held at Mazda Raceway Laguna last month. This story originally appeared in the September 2016 issue of Roadracing World Magazine, on sale now.
By David Swarts
Since he has raced a Superbike at Laguna Seca on Pirellis and on Dunlops, Roadracing World asked Toni Elias if he could compare the two tire brands. “It’s very difficult to compare,” said Elias. “What I can tell you about Pirelli, one lap is very good. Maybe for the first five laps you can go faster, but after the first five laps you have a big, big drop [in performance] and after seven or eight laps more you have another big drop, and you finish the race with no tire and the bike moving so much you can see a lot of slides. With the Dunlop maybe we are not fast the first five laps, but always we are consistent. The last lap times are still good at the end. Today in World Superbike Race [One], the fastest lap time was a 1:23.5, but they finish the race in the high 1:25s. I think our race pace on the Dunlops will be 1:24s and some 1:25s.” Elias’ prediction was right on the mark.
Yamaha teammates Josh Hayes (4) and Cameron Beaubier (1) lead Suzuki rider Toni Elias (24) on MotoAmerica Superbikes running Dunlop spec tires at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Photo by Brian J. Nelson.
In terms of comparing MotoAmerica and World Superbike motorcycles, tires and riders, it’s more difficult because Kawasaki and Ducati do not have official teams in MotoAmerica and Suzuki does not have an official team in World Superbike. But Yamaha has factory-level teams in both series, and the technical rules for the two series are now as close as they have been in years. So it was relevant to compare the performance of Monster Energy Graves Yamaha’s Cameron Beaubier and Josh Hayes and Pata Yamaha’s Niccolo Canepa and Alex Lowes at Laguna Seca. For this comparison, we looked at the first 19 laps of each MotoAmerica and World Superbike race because due to red flags MotoAmerica had races of 20 and 23 laps and World Superbike had races of 25 and 21 laps. The first lap time of each race was excluded because it was recorded from a standing start from different positions behind the start/finish line.
Pata Yamaha teammates Alex Lowes (22) and Niccolo Canepa (59) on World Superbikes at Laguna Seca, on Pirelli spec tires. The lap-time spread between tire brands is closer over race distance than people who haven’t raced a Superbike on both brands may think. Photos by Brian J. Nelson.
In World Superbike Race One: Lowes covered 19 laps in 26:54.344 with an average lap time of 1:24.965 and a best lap time of 1:23.854. Canepa covered that same distance in 26:59.593 with an average lap time of 1:25.242 and a best lap time of 1:24.800.
In MotoAmerica Superbike Race One: Beaubier covered 19 laps in 26:59.313 with an average lap time of 1:25.227 and a best lap time of 1:24.552, and Hayes covered 19 laps in 27:00.005 with an average lap time of 1:25.263 and a best lap time of 1:24.654.
In World Superbike Race Two: Lowes covered 19 laps in 26:52.685 for an average lap time of 1:24.878 with a best lap time of 1:24.183, and Canepa covered that distance in 26:52.255 for an average lap time of 1:24.856 with best lap time of 1:24.247.
In MotoAmerica Superbike Race Two: Beaubier covered 19 laps in 26:59.111 for an average lap time of 1:25.216 with a best lap time of 1:24.748, and Hayes covered 19 laps in 26:58.387 for an average lap time of 1:25.178 with a best lap time of 1:24.866.
So in Race One, Lowes covered the 19-lap distance about five seconds quicker than Beaubier and six seconds faster than Hayes. And in Race Two, Canepa completed the 19 laps about six seconds faster than Hayes and about seven faster than Beaubier. Or in short, Lowes and Canepa were on average about 0.3-second faster per lap than Beaubier and Hayes over 19 consecutive laps in their races.
Surprisingly, both Beaubier (Race One, 161.26 mph) and Hayes (Race One, 159.70 mph) recorded higher trap speeds during their races on their MotoAmerica YZF-R1 Yamahas than Lowes (Race One, 159.32 mph) and Canepa (Race Two, 159.32 mph) did on their World Superbike YZF-R1 Yamahas.
From the September 2016 edition of Roadracing World Magazine.