After the excitement of Donington Park, Pirelli heads to Laguna Seca for the ninth round of WorldSBK with new SCX and Superpole tyres
The Italian tyre brand debuts an unprecedented SCX solution at the Californian circuit and a new supersoft tyre to be used during Superpole®
Donington Park ended up with a hat-trick for the reigning World Champion Jonathan Rea and his overtaking in the general classification over Ducati’s rider Álvaro Bautista. Now the circus of the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship is crossing the Atlantic Ocean and heading towards the United States of America, to California, where, starting next Friday and until Sunday, the WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca circuit will host the ninth round of the season, the last before the summer break.
As usual, only riders of the premier class will be on the track in the iconic US circuit and, also for this reason, the spotlight will be on the two protagonists of this season, Álvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati / Ducati Panigale V4 R) and Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki WorldSBK Racing Team / Kawasaki ZX10RR). The Spaniard dominated the first part of the Championship but in the last three rounds he has failed to be as decisive losing all the advantage gained at the start of the season. The Northern Irishman who in the races he did not win has almost always reached the podium and then, as soon as Bautista was in trouble, he took the opportunity to win the races.
At Donington Park Rea therefore became the new leader of the Championship and now has a 24-point advantage on the Ducati’s bearer. Next weekend Alvaro will face a circuit, Laguna Seca, which he has not run on since 2013 and, above all, on which he has never raced with the Ducati Panigale V4 R.
Pirelli has brought two new solutions to this important event. The first of these is represented by a new qualifier tyre which riders will be able to use exclusively during the Superpole® on Saturday and which should offer even higher lap performance than the tyres used in the past on this circuit.
The second novelty concerns the SCX prequalifier tyre, the solution introduced by Pirelli this year to allow riders to have an extrasoft tyre that can be used during the Superpole® in preparation for the use of the qualifier tyre for the fast lap. This tyre is also favoured for the 10-lap Tissot Superpole® Race which takes place on Sunday mornings or, in exceptional cases, even for standard duration races. The new SCX solution in the specification Y0448 should guarantee even more performance on this circuit than the SCX solutions brought so far by Pirelli.
The WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca circuit rises about 250 metres above sea level, near the town of Monterey, California, in a natural ampitheatre set on a hill. This track has a varied configuration with ups and downs and fast parts alternating with slower sections that make it a unique circuit of its kind.
It was built in 1957 but, first in 1988 and then between 2005 and 2006, it underwent several changes both in terms of lengthening and structure with the extension of the escape routes, the replacement of curbs, the enlargement of the main straight and by enlarging the protective areas, obviously with the aim of making it safer.
Today it has a length of 3610 metres (2.243 miles), with 7 corners to the left and 4 to the right, and a width of 15 metres with the longest straight measuring 453 metres (0.281 miles).
The position of the track, located right on a hill not far from the sea, gives rise to large variations in asphalt temperature between morning and afternoon sessions. In some particular sections such as the famous "Corkscrew" (Turn 8 and 8a), the spectacular chicane situated on top of the hill that runs on a very steep slope which usually riders cover with a speed of around 80 km/h, sees rapid camber changes of direction that stress the front tyre and, at the same time, many load transfers which affect the grip of the rear tyre.
The solutions for the WorldSBK class:
For the US event, Pirelli brings 1180 tyres to Laguna Seca, a smaller quantity than in the European rounds because in this case only the riders of the WorldSBK class will be present. As always, this quantity includes both slick, intermediate and wet tyres.
The larger 125/70 front and 200/65 rear tyres are also confirmed for this round and in total the slick solutions available to WorldSBK riders will be six, two front and four rear.
For the front, Pirelli allows riders to choose between the standard SC1 in 125/70 size and soft compound and the development SC2 X1071 in medium compound.
As far as the rear is concerned, at Laguna Seca riders will find the standard SC0 in 200/65 size and the development Y0446, which uses the same structure as the standard SC0 but a compound more oriented to performance in the event of particularly high asphalt temperatures.
But the real novelty is represented by the solutions destined to qualification and prequalification: the new SCX in the Y0448 specification and the new Superpole® tyre in the Y0449 specification, both at their absolute debut in the Championship and never tested before by the riders.
The 2018 Pirelli statistics for Laguna Seca
• Total number of tyres brought by Pirelli: 1369
• Number of solutions (including dry, intermediate and wet) for the WorldSBK class: 5 front and 5 rear
• Number of tyres available for each WorldSBK rider: 34 front and 31 rear
• WorldSBK Best Lap Awards won by: Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati), in 1'23.041 (Race 1, 2nd lap) and Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK), in 1'23.480 (Race 2, 5th lap)
• Temperature in Race 1: air 28° C, asphalt 52° C
• Temperature in Race 2: air 20° C, asphalt 46° C
• Maximum race speed reached by Pirelli DIABLO™ Superbike tyres: 257 km/h, in Race 2 by Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) at the 3rd lap