Yamaha’s Cameron Beaubier was the fastest of the MotoAmerica Motul Superbike riders yesterday at Road America, using Dunlop new KR451 N-Tek rear tire. Photo by Brian J. Nelson

Dunlop, which is the official tire supplier for MotoAmerica, has introduced a new version of their KR451 N-Tek rear slick race tire, and it’s being used under race conditions by all the MotoAmerica Superbike teams and riders for the very first time this weekend at Road America.

The tire, which is larger in circumference than the previous version of the KR451, was successfully tested at the MotoAmerica Dunlop Official Preseason Test back on March 26 and 27 at Barber Motorsports Park.

Despite the fact that the larger tire affects the setup of the Superbikes, and the teams needed to make adjustments in order to exploit the full performance of the new tire, the lap times that were produced on the Friday at Road America made it abundantly clear that the new KR451 is yet another step forward for Dunlop.

The fastest overall lap time recorded last year at Road America was a 2:12.341 by Cameron Beaubier. By comparison, Beaubier was fastest at Road America yesterday, too. He did a 2:12.135 in his very first Qualifying Practice session on the new tire, which eclipsed his fastest time at Road America last year.

“I like the new tire a lot,” Beaubier said. “It’s about 5 millimeters taller than the previous (KR451) tire, so we had to lower the rear of the bike a little bit. It’s got a little more grip because there’s a bigger contact patch, and it also lasts longer. Coming off the corners, the grip is better, so I can get a better drive. It really suits my bike. The lap times will probably come down even more.”

With Superpole and two Superbike races yet to come, Beaubier or another MotoAmerica rider may go even faster before the weekend is through, but suffice to say that the new, larger KR451 N-Tek rear tire is a winner, no matter who wins on it this weekend.