Tyre Launch: Dunlop Qualifier II review

RoadSmart meets Qualifier – Dunlop’s fast road & track tyre

THE SCIENCE PART: The Qualifier II uses single tread technology on the front hoop and Dunlop’s TTC (Triple Tread Compound) on the rear. This gives uniformity to the front and the best of both worlds on the rear – a softer compound for better side grip on the shoulders of the tyre and a harder-wearing one on the centreline.

“TTC has come to us from racing,” says Emmanuel Robinet, Michelin’s R&D director for motorcycle and motorsport. “The rear compound offers maximum pure grip between 35° and 55° of lean angle, without compromising stability or longevity.” Different silicas are also used in the two compounds to suit the job each does, and an ultrafine carbon black helps dry grip and the delicate balance of mileage obtainable from the tyre.

Robinet explains that advances in carcass construction have brought further benefits for Qualifier II. “Our CTCS (Carcass Tension Control System) improves the even spread of stress over the whole radius of the tyre, so improving the quality of the contact patch, giving the rider improved stability, handling and confidence in what the tyre is doing. The Qualifier II team worked hard on the amount of contact area available at low camber, or leant over in the turn, and there’s 8 percent more contact patch in this regime, giving improved cornering performance and feedback. The tread pattern itself also had to look right.” Robinet explains: “We have put a lot of technology into this pattern to give it a more regular land/sea ratio distribution to aid stability and performance in the wet.”

RIDING IMPRESSION: Michelin’s 3.3km Miravel circuit has fast corners, rises, hard braking sections and tight corners – in short, the lot. In the hard braking areas the Qualifier IIs felt solid and changed direction quickly through the chicanes in the final third of the track. These direction changes were also very consistent, perhaps a payoff from the Qualifier II’s Carcass Tension Control System.

Confidence is the word bandied about by the marketing bods at Dunlop and it’s in the middle of the corner, cranked over, that these tyres impressed. Although I get my knee down, I’ve never been one for a lot of lean angle, but these tyres encourage you to lean it further, so much so that the peg went down on the R1 and GSX-R1000 swiftly followed by my toe-sliders. No fuss, no drama and the bike was still rock solid in the turn.

The wet weather test was a little unfair since we tried the Dunlops last, at which point we’d grown more confident on the wet test track. But for me it’s all about confidence and the Dunlops were best, followed by Bridgestone’s BT-016. The Qualifier II demonstrated a greater and wider performance margin in pretty much all areas.

VERDICT: The Roadsmart was a breakthrough tyre for Dunlop, combining incredible all-weather grip with the tyre life to make “fast road” rubber look a bit pointless. But by bringing Roadsmart technology to the Qualifier, Dunlop have created an impressive tyre for road riders with a semi-serious trackday habit.


CONTACT: 0121 306 6000, www.dunloptyres.co.uk