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Daytona 200 - Possible Spoilers


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Steve,

 

I was wondering if you could give us some insight into the tire issues that caused the red flag at Daytona this weekend? I know that the track temperatures were higher at race time and I understand how that can affect the tire choice but I was curious how the new paving played into the scenario. Any insight or direction (should this be answered elsewhere) would be appreciated.

 

And thanks for all of your input on this forum. It is fantastic having access to someone with your expertise.

 

Best,

Carey

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Steve,

 

I was wondering if you could give us some insight into the tire issues that caused the red flag at Daytona this weekend? I know that the track temperatures were higher at race time and I understand how that can affect the tire choice but I was curious how the new paving played into the scenario. Any insight or direction (should this be answered elsewhere) would be appreciated.

 

And thanks for all of your input on this forum. It is fantastic having access to someone with your expertise.

 

Best,

Carey

 

Carey,

 

No problem.

 

I am currently traveling back from Daytona, then have a day of paperwork to finalize. Once I clear my desk I will give the full details.

 

If anyone has questions, please ask them now, and I will give full explanations in my answer.

 

It was a very interesting week at Daytona. I am sure what you saw on TV was only a fraction of what the reality of the weeks activities were. Being in the Dunlop garage gives me a unique position of observation and insight to an event like this.

 

Ask your questions and I will have a full answers tomorrow.

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It's weird that Pirelli and Dunlop had problems with their tires the first race of the season in AMA and WSBK. Are the Dunlops safe to buy? It's not the normal ones we would be given, would they? I know the Pirelli's are race tires, but thought the Dunlops were DOT''s that go on the shelves. I was about to get Dunlops, but have quickly become concerned regarding quality and consistency.

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So, anything new on the Dunlop problem at Daytona? I was going back through my recording of the Sportbike race, and saw they interviewed a Dunlop Vice President, who (if I recall correctly) said it was an issue with overheating because the track was a lot hotter than anticipated (or words to that effect). I should hunt down that segment and watch it again...

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Here are some fact about the situation at Daytona.

 

Daytona is the most difficult track on the planet for motorcycle tires. The G-Forces and speeds on the banking produce extremely high temeratures. These high temperatures are not seen anyplace else.

 

For this reason Dunlop makes a special compound/construction tire to work specifically at Daytona. No other tire company has the experience at Daytona that Dunlop has. No other tire company does the testing or development that Dunlop has done over the years.

 

In the last 2 years of the AMA spec tire (2009-2010), Dunlop developed a very good tire that gave both durability and traction. Not an easy task, given they only give us 1 test date to develop, test, and then manufacture a tire that will work for the entire AMA field.

 

Now, after many years of racing on the same track surface, the speedway paved the racetrack. 30 Million dollars of high quality payment, and it is billiard smooth!

 

Along with this new smooth pavement comes higher speeds and higher temperatures.

 

We were given a 2 day test in December, they only ran the single banking, which produces 1/2 the amount of heat and is not a big issue for tires (compared to the double banking track configuration). After that test, the riders were happy with the tires and there were no issues with temperatures or overheating.

 

It is my understanding that the track then wanted us to RACE with the double banking. Having not tested the double banking a second test was in order. In January we tested with all the team and competitors. Unfortunately that test was mostly rained out, with only about 1 session per class completed. But we did learn that the double banking produced very high temperatures. Dunlop then went about monumental task of developing and manufacturing a tire quickly and in sufficient quantities to cover the entire field of 3 class. Then get those tires from England to Daytona before the race, all in under 6 weeks.

 

All throughout the AMA event in March, there was no indication that the tires were overheating at all. No issues at all. Everything looked good. Every practice and qualifying everything looked good. Then as the race was starting the sun came out and track temps raised 22 degF. This condition had not occurred with the new pavement, and thus there was no testing possible for this situation.

 

The race started and at lap 12 one rider pitted with an overheating front. In all only 4 front tires overheated. All of those were observed to have low air pressure. Low air pressure will result in higher temps at Daytona. Riders are strongly told not to lower their tire pressure.

 

But for the sake of safety, Dunlop recommended to the AMA to stop the race, and then provide (free of charge) a different compound front to all the competitors. This compound is more heat resistant.

 

Keep in mind, that the overheating only happened with competitors that ran low air pressure, and that was only limited to 4 riders. But for the safety of the riders, Dunlop made the judgment call to error on the side of safety.

 

Why would Dunlop not use the more heat resistant tire form the start? Because the tire they started with had no issues and gripped well. thus there was no need to make a change when there was no issues. The issue only came about when the PSI was run low and the sun was out. Dunlop has not confirmed it was due ONLY to the increased track temps. It is most likely because of the low air pressure. Its easy to make the call after the fact, but from our perspective we made all the right choices up until a select few riders lowered their tire pressure.

 

Why didn't Dunlop just blame the 4 riders for using low PSI and keep the race going? Becasue with the new pavement there are to many possibility. Dunlop has 20+ years with the old pavement, and only a fraction of that with the new pavement. Better safe than sorry.

 

Did Eslick fall on a chucked front tire? NO! he clearly tucked the front end. Inspection if his tire, both on camera and afterward, showed there was no overheating. earlier reports he crashed on chucked front tire are false.

 

I would like to point out, that this is special track with special circumstance. Daytona, and the tires we use there, will most likely never be used by anyone posting or reading this forum. What happened there has no relevance to the track day rider or regional racer in terms of tires or safety. Dunlop has been the leader in the USA for along time and will continue to be for many years to come. Dunlop's commitment to development and inovation have shown they are here to stay.

 

I don't see any other tire company trying to do what Dunlop does, especialy at Daytona. I would challenge readers to just check what the airfreight would be for 3000 tires from England to Daytona. Not the cost to build them quickly, just the airfrieght. Its a financial loss to put on that event, But Dunlop does it to forward the sport. It takes a big set of B***s to stop such a big race for safety concerns. Right or wrong, its better to make the call in the favor of safety, rather than to keep the show on the air. I noticed another tire company did not do this at Philip Island.

 

At the end of the day, all the riders were safe, and the last 15 laps of the race were some of the best racing I have ever seen in my 22 years of service to the racing community. I hope you all DVR recorded it.

 

Next year it will be even better.

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It's weird that Pirelli and Dunlop had problems with their tires the first race of the season in AMA and WSBK. Are the Dunlops safe to buy? It's not the normal ones we would be given, would they? I know the Pirelli's are race tires, but thought the Dunlops were DOT''s that go on the shelves. I was about to get Dunlops, but have quickly become concerned regarding quality and consistency.

 

 

Jasonzilla,

 

DOT just means its street legal. A tire can be DOT approved and a race tire. Class rules require DOT approved tires to compete in certain classes.

 

Again, a tire can be DOT approved and a race tire. But not all DOT are race tires. Slicks are NOT DOT approved, but are race tires.

 

Are Dunlop's safe? LOL, CERTAINLY! There is no need to knee jerk. The issue at Daytona was with overheating, not a tire failure. I can find this with all tire companies.

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Steve,

 

Thank you for taking the time to fully explain what happened. I appreciate you clearing up some mis-information that is making the internet rounds (Danny's crash, only four front tires over heating). And yes it did take "big brass ones" to stop the race for the tire change but it was, IMHO, the right call and I respect Dunlop for it. Once again I have to say it is great having a resource like you on the forum.

 

And while I was disappointed the race lost the endurance elements, I agree with you the 15 lap sprint was fantastic racing!

 

Best,

Carey

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Did Eslick fall on a chucked front tire? NO! he clearly fell on the brakes and tucked the front end. Inspection if his tire, both on camera and afterward, showed there was no overheating. earlier reports he crashed on chucked front tire are false

I'm going slightly off topic... Eslick fell on the brakes? I assume that to mean he touched his brakes for some reason. They were tucked-in and wide open coming off the banking onto the straight, why touch the brakes? That doesn't make any sense to me; why would anyone apply the brakes in that area/situation?

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Did Eslick fall on a chucked front tire? NO! he clearly fell on the brakes and tucked the front end. Inspection if his tire, both on camera and afterward, showed there was no overheating. earlier reports he crashed on chucked front tire are false

I'm going slightly off topic... Eslick fell on the brakes? I assume that to mean he touched his brakes for some reason. They were tucked-in and wide open coming off the banking onto the straight, why touch the brakes? That doesn't make any sense to me; why would anyone apply the brakes in that area/situation?

 

Brad,

 

You are correct. I overstated the Eslick crash. I did not personally see it. It was my mistake to state he crashed on the brakes. My main point still remains that his front tire did not overheat.

 

I corrected my earlier post. Thanks for noting it. My mistake.

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Did Eslick fall on a chucked front tire? NO! he clearly fell on the brakes and tucked the front end. Inspection if his tire, both on camera and afterward, showed there was no overheating. earlier reports he crashed on chucked front tire are false

I'm going slightly off topic... Eslick fell on the brakes? I assume that to mean he touched his brakes for some reason. They were tucked-in and wide open coming off the banking onto the straight, why touch the brakes? That doesn't make any sense to me; why would anyone apply the brakes in that area/situation?

 

Brad,

 

You are correct. I overstated the Eslick crash. I did not personally see it. It was my mistake to state he crashed on the brakes. My main point still remains that his front tire did not overheat.

 

I corrected my earlier post. Thanks for noting it. My mistake.

 

ok, thanks for the update. At first I carelessly mis-read it as "banking" and so that made some sense, but then I re-read it and saw "brakes" and it left me wondering.

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