Moto2, Moto3 get first test of Pirelli at Catalunya test

Moto2 and Moto3 riders got their first taste of Pirelli rubber ahead of the 2024 World Championship at a post-race test in Barcelona.

Pirelli tyres, Moto2/3. - Pirelli

The first test for Moto2 and Moto3 riders on Pirelli tyres has been completed at Barcelona, with Pirelli reporting positive feedback.

Pirelli’s arrival in the Moto2 and Moto3 World Championships from 2024 will be one of the biggest changes to either category in their respective histories. Aside, perhaps, from Moto2’s switch from Honda to Triumph engines in 2019, this is doubtless the biggest variable in the history of four-stroke racing in the lightweight and intermediate classes of Grand Prix racing.

Although Pirelli is perhaps best-known for its supply of tyres to F1 which has now lasted for almost 12 years, it of course has an even stronger history in world championship motorcycle racing, having been the sole tyre supplier to WorldSBK since 2004.

Nonetheless, the differences between production bikes and purpose-built racing prototypes should not be underestimated. 

With around six months until the 2024 Grand Prix season is likely to start, the first test of the Pirelli rubber on Moto3 and Moto2 bikes took place on the Monday after the Catalan Grand Prix.

Aside from the tyres, there was intrigue surrounding the riders themselves, as Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto3 rider Deniz Oncu rode a Kalex Moto2 bike at the test. There has not yet been any official confirmation that Oncu will race Moto2 next year, but this seems about as absolute as it gets without an accompanying press release.

The test itself was in decent conditions weather-wise, with track temperatures ranging from 30-50 Celsius throughout the day. Perhaps the biggest issue of testing in Barcelona is the surface, which is the most-polished, least-grippy, and highest-degradation of the season, and is therefore not entirely representative. Another issue in the test is that it was directly after a full race weekend, so there was a full three days of Michelin MotoGP rubber laid down; and, of course, Dunlop rubber from the Moto2 and Moto3 bikes on the weekend, which will obviously not be present at all next season.

In any case, the test - which saw both classes run SC1 (soft) and SC2 (medium) compound front tyres; Moto3 run SC1 (soft) and SC2 (medium) compound rears; and Moto2 run SC0 (soft) and SC1 (medium) compound rears - was deemed positive.

Pirelli Motorcycle Racing Director Giorgio Barbier explained: “For Pirelli, the balance of this first test with Moto2™ and Moto3™ teams and riders is certainly very positive. The Montmelò circuit is quite demanding for the tyres, therefore, it was an excellent testing ground to carry out the first test and immediately verify the goodness of our product. 

“Even in the absence of official lap times, we have seen that we are already very fast and that the wear levels are very good, above all if we consider that today was a very first test in plug & play conditions, i.e. without the possibility of setting the bike also in consideration of the race that will take place at Misano over the weekend. 

“We know we have a very high performance and solid product and the positive comments we received today from riders and insiders confirmed this. In addition to the grip and pure performance, the extremely intuitive behaviour, the immediate ease of use and the feeling of confidence expressed by the front thanks also to the good balance between the two axles were appreciated. 

“The riders were able to push hard right from the start thanks to the control and precision that our tyres were able to guarantee, in other words they immediately perceived a feeling of great safety. And these were unanimous comments, there were no dissenting voices. An excellent start and I am convinced that when the machines will be set up for our tyres in the best possible way, they will be able to fully exploit their full potential.”

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