An inside look at the Pirelli tyre options available in WorldSBK At Round 1 on Phillip Island.
Tyre choice is one of the most, if not the most, crucial decisions for a team and rider to make on race weekend. Without grip and rider confidence a podium is near impossible.
Phillip Island presents riders, teams and Pirelli with plenty of challenges, in fact Phillip Island is the most challenging circuit in terms of rear tyre wear and control.
The bikes spend a long time at full lean angle on the right-hand edge of the tyre, as high as 180-200 degrees at the peak measured 5-6mm inside the rubber compound of the tyre. This is measured as soon as the rider enters the pits.
Tyres leave Europe for Phillip Island in December, meaning Pirelli technicians have to take a three-month gamble on conditions. To minimise risk, a wide range of solutions are provided, giving riders and teams enough options for almost any condition. During Friday and Saturday morning, riders need to get not only their bikes set up, but also choose a tyre for the races and qualifying.
With one race on Saturday for SBK and a new Superpole format for Supersport, riders have even less time to test tyres.
Many can’t find the opportunity for a full race run of course, so the option is 10 to 12 laps to test endurance behaviour then a run of laps pushing 100 per cent to find the limit of the tyre, along with when the performance peaks and when it falls away.
The tyres available are listed below, interestingly including standard tyres available off the shelf, along with a number of development tyres. The development tyres help Pirelli to continually improve the standard tyres you and I can buy and the turn around from SBK racing to motorcycle shops is under two years.
Pirelli use SBK as their live development system, meaning customers truly get tyres that have been tested, refined and produced after thousands of laps by world championship riders.
These are the tyres available here for this weekend at Phillip Island.
All riders participating in the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship will have 17-inch Pirelli DIABLO Superbike tyre as follows:
- 120/70 front in SC1 (soft), SC2 (medium) and SC3 (hard) compounds.
- 200/60 rear in SC0 (soft), SC1 (medium) and SC2 (hard) compounds.
- DIABLO Rain, a minimum of 8 set of tyres available per rider, to be used in case of rain.
- DIABLO Wet, a minimum of 3 set of tyres available per rider. These are intermediate tyres to be used when the track is neither completely dry nor completely wet.
- DIABLO Superbike qualifier, a supersoft rear tyre for the Superpole 2 on Saturday.
The maximum number of tyres which each rider is allowed to use for the entire race weekend (Friday to Sunday) is 24, including 11 front and 13 rear tyres.
The maximum permitted number of fitted tyres for each session will be 13 (no distinction between front and rear) for each rider.
Regarding the Superpole format and the use of qualifier rear tyres:
- Riders classified from 11th to the last will take part in Superpole 1 using standard race tyres.
- The 10 fastest riders who will be seeded directly into Superpole 2 will get one qualifier rear tyre.
- The fastest two riders in Superpole 1 will access Superpole 2 and, only for this second session, they will receive a qualifier rear tyre.
- The riders who do not get to Superpole 2 from Superpole 1 must return the unused qualifier rear tyre to Pirelli.
All Supersport riders use treaded DIABLO Supercorsa SC tyres range as follows:
DIABLO Supercosa tyres with the following sizes:
- 120/70 front in SC1 (soft) and SC2 (medium) compounds.
- 180/60 rear in SC0 (soft), SC1 (medium) and SC2 (hard) compounds.
- DIABLO Rain, a minimum of 6 set of tyres available per rider, to be used in case of rain.
- DIABLO Wet, a minimum of 1 set of tyres available per rider. These are intermediate tyres to be used when the track is neither completely dry nor completely wet.
The maximum number of tyres allowed in the entire race weekend (Friday to Sunday) is 18, including 8 front and 10 rear tyres. The maximum permitted number of fitted tyres for each session will be 11.