Bautista gambles on the softest Pirelli tyres to win Race 1
With an unconventional decision, the Spaniard chooses the SCX development tyre in B800 specification for the rear and the SC1 at the front; WorldSSP Race 1 goes to Oncu
Yet another victory, his fourth in a row after the three taken in Australia, for Álvaro Bautista (Aruba.It Racing – Ducati) in the second round of the FIM World Superbike Championship which is being held this weekend in Indonesia at the Mandalika circuit, on the island of Lombok. Unlike most of the riders, including pole man Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK), who decided to use the standard SC0 rear and SC2 front solutions, a bit protected in terms of wear, the reigning World Champion, as well as his teammate, Michael Ruben Rinaldi, made the unconventional decision of gambling on the super soft SCX-A development tyre (B800 specification) at the rear and the standard medium SC1 at the front. This combination proved to be a winning choice thanks both to rather high asphalt temperatures that favoured the performance of the softest solutions, and to the Spaniard’s careful tyre management. On the other hand, with lower temperatures such as those for WorldSSP Race 1, won by Can Oncu on Kawasaki, the SC2 front and SC0 rear solutions were almost a unanimous choice.
Asphalt temperature a determining factor on this track
“This circuit is not technical, but it does have some peculiar characteristics and the asphalt temperature can have quite an influence on tyre choice and performance. Yesterday in FP1, the track wasn’t very rubberised and it was a bit damp, so when the riders left the ideal lines, they risked sliding around. In FP2, with the evolution of the track and higher temperatures, the tyres began to perform extremely well. Today in FP3, we were back to the same conditions as yesterday morning. The riders had poor grip and the tyres showed small signs of wear. This effect is probably due to the humidity that accumulates overnight and leaves the asphalt slightly damp, so the track is colder and slippery. The Superbike Superpole session was highly influenced by the strong winds, so the riders, even using the SCQ, were unable to push as they would have liked. In Supersport Race 1, a few drops of rain at the start made the track more slippery. Then, like in FP2, with hotter asphalt temperatures, the soft solutions were back to performing extremely well. At that point, with asphalt temperatures around 50°C, the super soft SCX development solution became more competitive than the soft SC0, at least in the first and middle part of the race, allowing Bautista to take the lead and then manage the tyres impeccably all the way to the chequered flag. So, congratulations to him and to Ducati, as well as to Can Oncu for his first win in WorldSSP”.
- With a time of 1’32.037, Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) took pole position in Superpole ahead of teammate Andrea Locatelli and championship leader Álvaro Bautista (Aruba.It Racing – Ducati). The session, where the riders used SCQ rear tyres and SC1 front tyres, was highly influenced by the strong gusts of wind which kept the riders from pushing to the limit.
- In Race 1, tyre choice was a crucial part of race strategy. Most of the riders decided to use the standard SC0 rear and SC2 front solutions, whereas a minority, including race winner Álvaro Bautista (Aruba.It Racing – Ducati) and teammate Michael Ruben Rinaldi, opted for softer solutions both at the front and at the rear, relying respectively on the SC1 and the SCX-A (super soft development tyre in B800 specification). In addition to the two Ducati riders, the same decision was also taken for the rear by the Honda factory riders, Vierge and Lecuona, as well as Gerloff on his BMW.
- The softest solutions, in particular the SCX-A rear, combined with outstanding tyre management, proved to be the winning solution because they ensured a good advantage with respect to the SC0 for a good part of the race, then dropping in performance gradually toward the end.
- In Superpole, Nicolò Bulega (Aruba Racing WorldSSP Team) took pole position with a time of 1’35.520. Behind him was another Italian rider, also on Ducati, Federico Caricasulo (Althea Racing Team). Third place went to Can Oncu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing). With air temperatures of 30°C and asphalt temps of 44°C, all the riders mounted the SCX compound on the rear, the softest available to them, whereas at the front, choices varied: the pole man used the SC1, while Caricasulo and Oncu preferred the SC2.
- Just before Race 1, a few drops of rain began to fall on the starting straight. However, all the riders on the track still started with slicks. The majority put on the standard soft SC0 at the rear and the standard hard SC2 at the front, although a few riders in the rear guard attempted to draw an advantage mounting the SCX rear.
- After starting from the third spot on the grid, Turkish rider Can Oncu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) moved into the lead on the first lap of Race 1, maintaining the position all the way to the chequered flag. Behind him on the podium were, Federico Caricasulo and, in third place, Niki Tuuli (Dynavolt Triumph). Pole man Nicolò Bulega finished fifth with his Ducati.
More details on the tyres used in the race are available on the technical sheets attached to this release.