Q: In your opinion, what is the most important piece of equipment for riding on circuit?
A: Well, apart from my wife (she’s sitting next to me right now) and protective equipment, I would rate tyres as the most important. Good suspension and brakes are very important but good tyres keep you safer and let you go to new levels like no other piece of equipment can. I’m not saying you need new ones every time you go out, you need the best ones for the job.
The right tyres will also help your bike turn better and have a more neutral feeling so when you are leaning you don’t have to physically hold the bike down.
I first realised how big a difference tyres can make when Dunlop gave me my first experience on qualifying tyres (Dunlop were the first to make specific ‘Qualifiers’ if I remember correctly). I was at Albacete WSBK round on the Muzzy ZX7. I said to my mechanics, “wow that tyre has so much drive and side grip that I need to make the rear suspension harder because it squats and runs wide now that I have the throttle so far open”.
The mechanics said “how much harder?”
I said “its so dam good that you could make it solid and I could do ONE fast lap!”.
Also if it rains, wet tyres keep you safer, allow you to lap faster and have some feel what’s going on underneath you.
Tyres are the single most important piece of equipment you take to the circuit in my opinion.