For the Laguna Seca WorldSBK event Pirelli focus on soft solutions for both the front and the rear
The Sole Official Tyre Supplier of the production bike derived series continues development of the new 200/65 rear size, taking it to different circuits, in direct comparison with the standard size
The Californian circuit of Laguna Seca will host the next round of the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship which will take place from 22nd to 24th of June 2018. The production bike derived series returns to the track for the sixteenth time, (the sixth consecutive), after a debut in 1995. As usual, only the riders of the WorldSBK visit the US round, with the other classes returning at Misano Adriatico.
To face the Laguna Seca circuit, this year Pirelli has decided to depend exclusively on soft solutions for both the front and rear.In particular, for the rear the Bicocca company continues the development of the new 200/65 size, which was introduced for the first time during the opening round in Australia, and returns for the Imola round by developing two solutions, the W1002 and the X0175. These differ from each other in the compound used, and during the Brno and Donington rounds were much appreciated by the riders.At Laguna Seca Pirelli will bring the W1002 version and will directly compare it with the W1050 development solution in standard size: both options use the same compound and this will allow Pirelli to collect further data, keeping the same compound as a reference, on the real effectiveness of the bigger size compared to the standard one.
The WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca was built in 1957 but in 1988 it underwent a change creating the section between Turn 2 and 5, which was necessary in order to achieve the minimum length required by the FIM rules.Between 2005 and 2006, some small sections have been modified including smoothing the bump before the Corkscrew, expanding the escape routes, replacing curbs, enlarging the main straight and moving some protection areas, all to make it safer.The track is located 250 metres above sea level, not far from the town of Monterey which overlooks a beautiful bay in California. It is situated on a hillside, starting from the bottom of the valley it then rises towards the top corner from Turn 5 to the 8 and 8a curves, before falling back sharply towards the finish line.
The circuit is 3610 metres long (2,243 miles), with 7 left-hand turns and 4 right, and has a width of 15 metres with the longest straight which measures 453 metres (0.281 miles). The track runs counter-clockwise and the rider in pole position starts on the right hand side.Laguna Seca is perhaps the most interesting circuit in the United States because of its configuration and undulation, alternating with slower corners but it is also a track where overtaking is difficult, with relatively few points to attack.
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 kms/h, sees rapid camber changes of direction that stress the front tyre and, at the same time, the many load transfers which affect the grip of the rear tyre.Another particular section is the start-finish straight, which is very short, with two slight changes of direction where the maximum speed is reached, 270 kms/h for Superbike class.Also important is getting a good run through Turn 3 and 4 to allow for a good lap time, which is why it is crucial that the tyres have an excellent performance even in slow tight corners.
The solutions for the WorldSBK class
Pirelli will bring 1369 tyres to Laguna Seca. This quantity, which may appear relatively low compared to other rounds, is however to be intended as dedicated exclusively to the WorldSBK class, the only one to take to the track in the legendary US track, and as always includes slick solutions for dry alongside intermediate and wet tyres.
Five dry solutions; three for the front and two for the rear, in addition to the supersoft qualifier tyre that can only be used by the riders in the second Superpole® session.The three options for the front all use soft compounds. The standard SC1 is flanked by two development solutions: the well-known V0952, which was much appreciated by riders in all the rounds run last year and in 2017, and the W0657, a tyre introduced by Pirelli last year at Lausitzring and brought in 2017 also to Portimão and Magny-Cours. Compared to the standard SC1, this latter solution offers an even softer compound to ensure an excellent level of grip at the front.For the rear, riders will have two solutions, already used in previous rounds, both using the same soft compound: the W1050, compared to the standard SC0 which is still generally more suitable for cold temperatures, and the W1002, introduced at Imola and also brought to Donington. This uses the same compound as the W1050 solution but in the innovative 200/65 size which offers a wider contact area resulting in better distribution of stresses and which should guarantee even higher grip, especially at high temperatures.
The 2017 Pirelli statistics for Laguna Seca
• Total number of tyres brought by Pirelli: 1451
• Number of solutions (including dry, intermediate and wet) for the Superbike class: 5 front and 5 rear
• Number of tyres available for each Superbike rider: 35 front and 28 rear • Superbike Best Lap Awards won by: Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team),in 1'23.553 (Race 1, 3rd lap) and by Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team),in 1'59.728 (Race 2, 2nd lap)
• Temperature in Race 1: air 28° C, asphalt 58° C • Temperature in Race 2: air 21° C, asphalt 52° C
• Maximum race speed reached by Pirelli DIABLO™ Superbike tyres: 259.5 km/h, by Jonathan Rea(Kawasaki Racing Team) in Race 2 at the 3rd lap.