Pirelli at the starting blocks for the 2016 motorcycle race season
Additions to the DIABLO™ Superbike slick racing tyres, now available in the new SC3 compound
The iconic brand confirms its undisputed leading status in the world of two-wheel racing, with its participation in 110 championships over five continents, including the Superbike World Championship, Motocross and Endurance, AMA Supercross Championship and British Superbike
Addition to the range of compounds for riders to choose from: both front and rear, the new SC3, developed for endurance competition and situations in which good resistance and lasting performance are needed, has joined the existing family
2016, another year in which Pirelli will be the undisputed star of the most important national and international motorcycle competitions. From Phillip Island to the desert sands and US stadiums, via some of the most fascinating locations and tracks in the world: the iconic brand will be participating in 110 motor cycle championships over five continents. Of these 34 as Sole Tyre Supplier and 76 in ‘open’ competition with other tyre manufacturers.
Among the most important are the Superbike, Motocross and Endurance World Championships, AMA Supercross Championship and MCE British Superbike, as well as numerous national and local championships, in both on and off-road. Pirelli has been involved in these for several years, true to the strong sporting spirit which has always been a distinguishing characteristic of the company.
A glaring example of Pirelli's full circle commitment to competition: on the weekend of 27 and 28 February the tyre manufacturer's motorsports team will be competing at the Phillip Island circuit in Australia for the first date of the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship, at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta for the eighth race of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross an FIM World Championship and lastly at Losail, just a short distance from the capital of Qatar, for the opening leg of the FIM Motocross World Championship.
The most important change for 2016 is Pirelli's introduction of a new compound to the DIABLO™ Superbike slick range of tyres. This is used in both World Superbike and available for the Superbike classes of national championships and road racing competitions. The new SC3 solution, available for the front and the rear, adds to the existing range as the hardest of the available solutions and has been specifically developed for endurance races and situations where good resistance and lasting performance are needed. This means that as well as being used in the FIM Endurance World Championship, this compound could also occasionally appear in action at the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship, but only as a front option since given the length of the race. Such a hard, resistant solution would be superfluous for the rear wheel and unlikely to be chosen by riders completing relatively few kilometres at maximum performance.
Race dates for 2016
Pirelli started its season in two wheel competition on 9 January at the Angel Stadium, Anaheim, in the United States, with the first round of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross an FIM World Championship programme. Supercross is the out and out most popular motorcycle competition in the United States which fills entire stadiums with fans and their families and for which Pirelli is also the official “Motorcycle tyre” sponsor for the three-year period 2014-2016.
The weekend of 27-28 February will mark the début of the season at Phillip Island and at Losail, respectively of the eni FIM Superbike World Championship and of the FIM Motocross World Championship which will see Pirelli's range of motorcycle racing tyres in action, on both the track and off road.
This year too Pirelli will be participating, in some cases as the Sole Tyre Supplier and in others in an open competition, in some of the most important motorcycle events at a national and international level. These include the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship, the FIM Motocross World Championship, the FIM Endurance World Championship, Monster Energy AMA Supercross (a FIM World Championship), the MCE British Superbike Championship, Italian Speed Championship, German IDM Championship and French Superbike series.
For Pirelli in fact these competitions are a laboratory for developing and testing their tyres with some of the best riders around, the same tyres which are then marketed and supplied to motorcyclists all over the world.
The MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship organised by Dorna is definitely the most important example of how racing is Pirelli's preferred R&D platform. Pirelli has been the Sole Official Tyre Supplier for all classes of the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship since 2004, and will run until 2018, a record in the history of motorsports making Pirelli the longest running sole tyre supplier at an international level.
Unlike other championships where prototype tyres are used, from the beginning Pirelli's philosophy has been that of designing, with the help of riders, competition products which can be used by motor cyclists in general. That's where the now-famous motto “We sell what we race, we race what we sell” stems from and the creation of the DIABLO™ range with historic tyres like the DIABLO™ Superbike used in the top class, and the DIABLO™ Supercorsa SC used in the Supersport, Superstock 1000, Superstock 600 and European Junior Cup classes, undisputed market leaders for years.
Moving on to the most important off road competition, the FIM Motocross World Championship sponsored by Youthstream, the Italian tyre company once again stars as one of the Official Tyre Supplier, boasting a record of 64 world titles achieved with products marketed for sale and strictly belonging to the SCORPION™ MX range. Chief of these the legendary SCORPION™ MX32™. In 2016 Pirelli will be supporting riders of the calibre of Tony Cairoli; the eight times World Champion, Jeffrey Herlings; twice MX2 World Champion, Romain Febvre, Jordi Tixier, Kevin Strijbos, Max Nagl, Jeremy Van Horebeek, Gleen Coldenhoff and many others.
The FIM Endurance World Championship, starts on 8 April in France on the legendary circuit of Le Mans where the Le Mans Moto 24 Hours has given Pirelli four wins over the last five years.
The Endurance, as the word itself suggests, is an extreme and exciting championship, testing riders and teams to the limit in terms of concentration and stress. In 24 June it will be the turn of the Portimão 12 Hours in Portugal, while on 29 July all eyes of motor cycle fans will be focused on the Land of the Rising Sun, where the prestigious Suzuka 8 Hours will take place. The Championship will end with the 8 Hours of Oscherleben in Germany at the end of August. The 2017 Bol d’Or championship season will now start on the Paul Ricard circuit of Le Castellet on the weekend of 17-18 September, a competition which Pirelli has dominated without interruption for the past four years.
Numerous competitions also see Pirelli involved at a national level both as sole tyre supplier and in open competition. First of all in the UK; the MCE British Superbike for which Pirelli has been the Presenting Sponsor and Sole Tyre supplier since 2008 and where it will continue to be so, subsequent to the renewal signed in October last year, until 2020. The riders of the British national series will take to the track for the first round at the Silverstone circuit on the weekend of 8-10 April.
Pirelli also confirms its important position in the IDM (German National Championship), France Superbike FSBK (French National Championship), CIV (Italian Speed Championship), Superbike Series Brazil, in the South African Stock 1000 Cup, in Malaysia and in the Philippines with the Superbike Series. Also the R125 Cup in Holland, as well as the Belgian, Czech, Polish, Austrian, Finnish, Dutch, Spanish, Bulgarian, Rumanian, Serbian and New Zealand championships and in the Alpe Adria Championship and East European Championship. Starting from last year Pirelli is also the Sole Supplier in Japan of the Pirelli Cup 600 Challenge Series.
Generally speaking, in the European Championships envisaging the presence of several tyre manufacturers, Pirelli on average fits tyres to 70% of all the bikes on the starting grid, confirming the popularity of the Italian tyre brand with riders from all over the world.
The racing series: the DIABLO™ for road competitions
Pirelli's road racing tyre series designed for use on the track and in road racing competitions consists of four products from the DIABLO™ range:
• DIABLO™ Superbike: is the top of the range product for the racing series,a slick NHS (abbreviation of "Not for Highway Service") tyre, in other words not approved for road use, able to guarantee maximum performance thanks to the variety of compounds it is offered in. It is used for example in the Superbike class of the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship and the FIM Endurance World Championship as well as in national championships.
• DIABLO™ Supercorsa SC: unlike DIABLO™ Superbike this tyre is not slick but treaded, it too is available in different compounds. It's the product used in the Supersport and Superstock classes where the performance offered by a slick tyre is not required and the motorcycle should be as true as possible to those for sale on the market.
• DIABLO™ Rain: the benchmark wet tyre for all classes and championships. With a grooved tread, it's the ideal solution in conditions of heavy rain or on thoroughly wet surfaces. The compound used for this product guarantees maximum traction in the wet both at cold temperatures and at medium-hot temperatures.
• DIABLO™ Wet: an intermediate solution between the dry tyre and DIABLO™ Rain. This tyre has a pattern with a smaller number of grooves than the wet tyre and a compound halfway between a slick and a wet solution which enables it to work well in surface conditions which is still wet or in conditions of drying asphalt with already dry lines.
Focus on the new DIABLO™ Superbike SC3 compound
The new SC3 solution, available for the front and the rear is the sturdiest of those present in the Pirelli DIABLO™ Superbike 2016 series. This solution was developed by the brand as a result of the years of experience acquired while participating in the FIM Endurance World Championship and the many victories in competitions such as Le Mans 24 Hours or the Bol d’Or. It is therefore a solution developed above all for use in endurance competitions and in all those cases where a high level of resistance and longer lasting performance than those which other compounds can offer, is needed.
As regards the rear, compared to the SC2 which is the closest solution to it in terms of characteristics, the SC3 offers greater durability and more constant performance in all ranges of use, at the cost of peaks in performance.
On the front, the SC3 is versatile and offers constant performance. In detail, compared to an SC1 it ensures a longer mileage but at the cost of grip and contact feeling while if compared to the SC2 it continues to offer a mileage but at the price of less driving precision.
For these reasons the SC3 is an excellent solution for endurance competition and all those racing contexts, such as, for example, Northern Championships, where a highly protected, resistant solution unlikely to tear with the cold, needs to be used. During the year it will also be appearing in the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship but only as a front option: the circuits the World Championship are raced on, the length of the races and the temperatures normally encountered on these occasions do not in fact make it a valid solution for the rear where, in almost all cases, riders prefer the higher performance SC0.
DIABLO™ Superbike: the compounds and their use
There are five DIABLO™ Superbike rear compounds , including the solution used during the Superpole in the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship which is not however available for sale on the market.
There are three, equally important basic criteria for choosing one compound as opposed to another:
1) the hardness of the asphalt
2) the temperature of the asphalt
3) the duration of performance required
These are the rear solutions with corresponding features and range of use:
• SUPERPOLE – Super Soft: the DIABLO™ Superbike Superpole, unlike the other tyres is not for sale on the market and is used only by the riders of the Superbike World Championship to get the best starting grid position during the second session of Superpole held on the Saturday. This solution has a very soft and therefore high-performance compound with good grip, able to guarantee a practically immediate warm-up and maximum performance permitting a full lap at maximum performance after the starting lap.
• SC0 – Soft: this solution has a soft compound, ideal for tackling smooth asphalt and high temperatures. It is by far the most widely used rear solution in the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship. It offers maximum tread contact on smooth asphalt and maximum traction development at high temperatures as well as higher resistance to thermal performance decay.
• SC1 – Medium: this option offers a medium-hardness compound which places it halfway between the soft and the hard solutions. It is the most popular solution when, perhaps on account of it being too cold or the asphalt being particularly abrasive, the SC0 can't be used.
• SC2 – Hard: until last year this was the hardest solution in the range. It's used mainly in national championships, where the asphalt is hard and/or abrasive or where external temperatures are low. Thanks to its characteristics the hard compound is capable of ensuring excellent resistance to cold tearing (i.e. tearing of the rubber of the tread strip) and to wear.
• SC3 – Super Hard: this is the new entry for 2016 and the out-and-out sturdiest solution of the range. Developed above all for endurance activities it can however be used in all national championships where a compound particularly resistant both to abrasive asphalt and/or to low temperatures is needed.
There are three front compounds of the DIABLO™ Superbike but the criteria for use are not the same as those used to choose the rear compounds.
In this case as well as the temperature and hardness of the asphalt, it's important to bear in mind the layout of the track, and above all the rider's driving style.
Generally speaking however, when the temperature of the track increases the compound tends to become less compact and lose rigidity, sometimes causing problems of movement when leaning. In this case it's advisable to use a harder compound such as the SC2.
On the other hand, when the track is cold, the compound tends to become more rigid and this leads to less grip with possible under-steering and decreased stability while braking. In these conditions it is better to use a soft compound such as SC1.
These are the front solutions with corresponding features and range of use:
• SC1 – Soft: is the softest front compound developed for low outdoor temperatures and medium-severe circuits: it maximises tread contact and the “presence” of the front tyre. This is the solution preferred by riders who want a predictable tyre able to let them know directly when they are about to reach the grip limit. It is generally preferred to the SC2 on circuits with significant depressions since it ensures the absorption of shock and vibrations (chattering).
• SC2 –Medium: this is the medium hardness compound, the best for high temperatures since it guarantees solidity in the tread. This is the solution which more aggressive riders opt for, with a compact tread strip as well as greater solidity, stability and precision when driving and entering curves.
• SC3 – Hard: new for 2016. Compared to the two previous solutions it certainly offers a higher mileage while remaining versatile. This could prove the best solution for the front tyre on particularly demanding circuits.