MotoAmerica: Superbike Gets Qualifiers

Soft-compound tires for Superpole in 2016

2016 MotoAmerica
Dunlop's adding some Qualifying tires to the allocation for Superbike's Superpole 2 session in 2016.Photo Courtesy of MotoAmerica/Brian J. Nelson

The premier classes in the World Championships use them so why not here in the U.S.? A question answered with the return of softer-compound-qualifying tires to the U.S. Superbike championship after nearly an eight-year absence. So starting at the MotoAmerica season opener at the Circuit of The Americas, the Superbike class will get to use a qualifier in the Superpole 2 session.

Not only will it aid young American riders with the experience of “Q” tires before they advance overseas, but add some more excitement to the qualifying session; including lowering lap times.

The ultra soft qualifying tires are good for four laps, according to Dunlop Motorsports Technician Tony Romo - two laps to bring the tire to its best temperature, a hot lap to qualify, and another lap to get it back to pit lane. But the gains are significant: up to a second a lap over the tires made to go race distance, Romo says.

All 10 Superbike/Superstock 1000 riders who transfer directly from Free Practice 3 to Superpole 2 will have the opportunity to use the Dunlop qualifying tire in an effort to compete for the top 12 spots on the starting grid. Same goes for the two riders who transfer from Superpole 1 to Superpole 2, which means all 12 riders in Superpole 2 will get the chance to use the soft tire.

"There's nothing like having more grip," said MotoAmerica President and three-time 500cc World Champion Wayne Rainey. "More grip means faster lap times and Dunlop qualifying tires provide that grip. I think it's important for our riders to get used to managing the qualifying tires. They provide a sensation like no other and you can use the extra grip to find new ways to go faster. Our fans are going to enjoy the extra excitement that having the qualifying tires in the final Superpole session bring to the show, and I think a lot of track records will be broken this year."