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Dunlop head to Sepang to continue preparation

Dunlop head to Sepang to continue preparation

With both Yamaha teams having elected against a preseason test at Phillip Island last week, their next test begins early next week at Sepang. It is a chance for Dunlop to gather information as much as for the teams, and Jeremy Ferguson from the manufacturer gave motogp.com the lowdown on their 2007 plans.

With both Yamaha teams having elected against a preseason test at Phillip Island last week, their next test begins early next week at Sepang. It is a chance for Dunlop to gather information as much as for the teams, and Jeremy Ferguson from the manufacturer gave motogp.com the lowdown on their 2007 plans in an exclusive interview this week.

Have Dunlop made any big changes for 2007, for example trying out a 16" tyre?

We will retain 16.5 tyres on both the front and rear. We have developed a number of new profiles, again for both front and rear, several of which we tested at Sepang in January. We will confirm these results at Sepang next week, whilst, as usual, testing a large number of new construction and compound variants.

Should it rain we have also a lot of new wet specifications to test, these resulting from a comprehensive wet test programme we undertook at Paul Ricard in November.

Does having only one team on the grid help or hinder your development?

Both. Working with just one team and two riders we can focus all our efforts on providing 'tailor made' solutions to meet the individual requirements of these riders. On the other hand, it is not easy for two riders to work through the sheer number of tyre variants that we need them to test. Whilst we now have a lot of individual circuit data which enables us to understand and prepare for the individual characteristics of each circuit, the characteristics of the 800cc machines are, in some ways, quite different from the 990cc bikes . Riders are also individuals - their requirements and feedback vary. For example, sensitivity to 'chatter' varies -what is perfectly acceptable to one can be unacceptable to another.

After the January test we have a clear idea of what Makoto Tamada is looking for, and can tailor our development accordingly.

Dunlop won't be affected by the new regulations that come into play in 2007, how are you looking to take advantage of this situation?

Firstly can I say that we think the new regulations, which resulted from a lengthy series of very constructive meetings between Bridgestone, Dunlop and Michelin last year, provide a really good and fair framework for tyre manufacturers and the teams in MotoGP. We hope that by the end of the 2007 season that we too will have to adhere to the new restrictions!! Meanwhile, we will take advantage of the freedom to use as many different tyre specs as we like during a race weekend , which could be particularly helpful in changeable weather and temperature situations.

Makoto Tamada switches to Dunlops this year, and in 2006 he struggled on Michelins. Do you think that Dunlops will improve his confidence with the front end?

We remember Makoto, and his individual riding style, from his Superbike days on Dunlop, and our first objective is to give him the confidence he needs from the front. No rider can go really fast unless he has full confidence in the front end, and we have to provide the right combination of profile, construction and compounds to give him that confidence. So far, we have established a baseline front set-up which Tamada is happy with: we will now build on that during the rest of the pre-season tests.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2007

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