Jump to content

How Much Is Down To The Tyres?


Recommended Posts

Not many race tracks have stayed the same over long periods. And even those that retains the same layout will not be the same; track surface will have changed for better or worse, depending on maintenance. Riders will improve or regress in perfomance, both on day-to-day basis as well as over time. Also, weather will also vary from one year to another, further making totally fair comparisons difficult - if not to say impossible.

 

However, I'm still going to look at two decades of lap time development around two race tracks; Phillip Island in Australia and Isle of Man road circuit.

 

PI

Pole time in 1989: 1:34.990 (500cc)

Pole time in 1999: 1:32.319 (500cc)

Pole time in 2003: 1:30.068 (990cc)

Pole time in 2010: 1:30.107 (800cc)

Absolute record in 2008: 1:28.665 (800cc)

 

IoM Senior TT

Avg speed record in 1989: 121.34mph (750cc)

Avg speed record in 1992: 123.61mph (750cc)

Avg speed record in 1999: 124.45mph (1000cc from now on)

Avg speed record in 2007: 130.35mph

Avg speed record in 2009: 131.40mph

 

 

I doubt many will claim that the bikes - from power to driveability to suspension to brakes and more - haven't improved leaps and bounds since 1989. So how much of the drop in lap times do we estimate comes from better bikes and how much is down to the tyres?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I forgot to mention that the worst qualifier in 2008 at PI (record year) set a time of 1:31.995 and in 2010 the slowest QP time was 1:32.752. In other words, Kenny Roberts on the Suzuki 500 two-stroke was quicker in 1999 than Talmacsi was in 2010 riding a Honda 800!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You say making totally fair comparisons difficult - if not to say impossible. then go on to compare 500 2 stroke with decades of development against an 800 4 stroke with 4 years development and an electronics system that controls power delivery!

If you want to talk tyres and make a fair comparison then compare say Kenny Roberts tyre wear to Gary Mcoys on a 500 or Casey Stoners to Talmasci on an 800!

 

Bobby

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's inevitable that different people will have different interests and focus. Personally, I would be interested to know how much of the 3.7 seconds between Roberts' 500 and Stoner's 800 is because of tyre improvement compared to bike improvement. Personally, I would expect the old stroker to be at least two seconds per lap quicker with a decade of tyre development alone - but that would also mean that 40 more hp, traction control, a wider powerband and all sorts of chassis development is worth less than 2 seconds - which really doesn't make much sense.

 

One could also turn things around and say that since we all are miles away from matching a world class racer, it probably wouldn't have much impact on our lap times whether we used tyres from 1990 or 2010 - or? Because it doesn't seem to be that much difference in grip levels even at the top level, and considering how slow we ride grip shouldn't really be an issue at all tongue.gif

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thing is 2 seconds is huge at that level of racing, I know what you are saying and would just like to add that having spoken to a few GP riders from the 500 era (race winners) the one thing they always say is how amazing modern off the shelf tyres are compared to the race tyres they had in the 90s! In saying that with the lap times you have quoted maybe that tells you that grip is not the only limiting factor in improving lap times but also you only quote the fastest lap of each bike, the real test would be in how long it took the 500s to complete race distance compared to the 800s, then you would see how well the tyres performed, modern tyres are capable of putting in consistent lap times from about the 2nd lap until the end off the race, could tyres in the 90s do that?

 

Bobby

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I do not have access to full race data earlier than 1998, but if we look at Doohan and his winning performance at PI that year, his first flying lap was done in 1:34.351, his fastest was lap 11 at 1:34.312 and his 26th lap was 1:34.727. All of his laps, save lap 1 and the last lap (eased well off) only lap 25 was outside the 1:34 bracket. Sounds pretty consistent to me?

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

OK Eirik, I dont go into googling results too much but it seems the one thing that is lacking consistency is which rider you are choosing to use as an example however if you put those times against Casey Stoner in 2010, Casey would have finished the race close to a lap and a half in front of Mick Doohan of 1998! Cosidering Mick is a 5 time champion I would think gaining a lap and a half on him is not bad going for 12 years development!

 

Bobby

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Considering the amount of money and effort poured into it, I don't think it's so great. I believe they could have gained probably 2/3 of what they have achieved simply by refining what they had year by year on a fraction of the budget and manpower. But that's another discussion wink.gif

 

However, whether we consider the development great or not, I'd still be interested to try and understand how much of it is really down to the tyres and what's down to the bikes in terms of lap time reduction.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thing is Eirik, the rules have changed so much in moto gp over the last 12 years that there is no comparison! I would suggest that the 21 litres of fuel limit could be a major limiting factor in lap times but thats another discussion! Also you have no idea how a modern tyre would work with a 12 year old 500 2 stroke, it might not even work with that power delivery!

If your interested in tyre development you should really look at the same bikes in the same year, 2008 Rossi and Pedrosa defected from michelin to bridgestone, Why? because bridgestone were leaps and bounds better than michelin that year but that was only in moto gp and never reflected on the tyres available to the public that year!

 

Bobby

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't think modern tyres would work well on the 500, and yes, the rule changes will have had a definite effect.

 

Perhaps the best way to tell what the difference in tyre technology has brought us would be to take for instance a GSXR750 from 1990, 2000 and 2010 and, using 3 control riders, test each bike with tyres from each era. Now there's a thought tongue.gif

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sounds like a magazine test to give a bunch of journalists soething to fill a couple of pages with and no real outcome! What would be a better thought is to live for the now and stick a pair of modern supersport tyres on our bikes and go and see just how much of that expensive, years of R & D, we can get from them!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sounds like a magazine test to give a bunch of journalists soething to fill a couple of pages with and no real outcome! What would be a better thought is to live for the now and stick a pair of modern supersport tyres on our bikes and go and see just how much of that expensive, years of R & D, we can get from them!

 

I must agree with Acebobby on this one.

 

There is a lot "what if's" involved here. A lot of questions about the past. with all the variables involved there are trillions of possible outcomes. Should we now also take every race and throw those variables at them and determine who would have won if the traction control was at a different setting? or if Lawson was on an N-Tec, or Roberts rode a Kawasaki. then after we figure out all the possible outcomes for that race, we then move on to another race to determine all the possible outcomes for it? And then all the outcomes for all the possible series, AMA , MotoGP, World Superbike etc. Seems like a lot of living in the past and "what if".

 

I will make this easy. to answer the starting question, after exhaustive research and speaking with everyone in the motorcycle industry, draining 3 sets of batteries in my calculator, I have the answer:

 

36.764% from tire development.

22.457% from traction control.

2.317% from chain development

3.456% from aerodynamics of bodywork

25.573% from engine development

5.889% from nutrition improvements

-2.456% riders loss of reading skills

6.000% margin of error

 

These facts are not in dispute. ;)

 

My question is this- Considering the increase in bandwidth of the internet over the last 10 years, if everyone had a current computer back in the day and was given broadband to replace their dial-up, how many more posts would there be on the top 5 threads of this forum?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...