Dunlop, exclusive tyre supplier to the Moto2 and Moto3 World Championships, is to trial the use of an electronic microchip to help manage and track its tyres during this week's Jerez
The company then hopes to introduce its award-winning RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) technology - already used in the British Touring Car Championship and FIA
European Truck Championship - for the 2014 grand prix season.
But whilst the administration benefits are clear, the exciting part about RFID (pictured) is that it could one day provide real-time tyre data for the rider.
The key element of RFID is a 1cm chip, built into the tyre on the assembly line in Birmingham, UK and programmed with a unique code, enabling automatic reading of tyre type, size and a unique identity number. In BTCC
- exclusively supplied by Dunlop - this allows cars to be automatically scanned as they drive into the pit lane, ensuring each car is using the correct and allocated tyres at all times.
However Dunlop's ultimate goal for RFID is much greater. The company aims to 'increase tyres' intelligence to the point that tyres are feeding back vital real-time information to the rider. The starting point of this evolution takes place today at Jerez'.
"When you look at key introductions in motorcycle motorsports over the years such as the restrictions of cylinders and gears in 1967 and the introduction of carbon brakes in 1988 we believe this is up there as one of the most significant introductions to Motorcycle racing since its inception," declared Tony Duffy, Dunlop Operations Manager.
"Firstly the RFID technology will be a huge benefit in ensuring no tyre is missed and we can provide the Moto2 and Moto3 organisers with a 100 per accurate log of each tyre's activity.
“However, while the RFID chips only currently carry identifying data it may be possible in the future to make them dynamic so that real-time monitoring of various criteria is possible offering a range of exciting opportunities from a rider intelligence point of view.
"Whilst the technology has now been around for a couple of years in other global race categories, today we will be ensuring the RFID tags remain stable in the [grand prix] tyre and fine-tuning the frequencies to the point where no tyre is 'missed' when bikes return from the track.
“Together with our technical partner Datalinx we have achieved a great breakthrough for motor sport globally and we are sure this will be a success in MotoGP
from the start of next season.”