Portimão (Portugal),

Pirelli is ready to face the “ups and downs” of Portimão for the tenth round of the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship

The riders of the WorldSBK class for this event can count on standard solutions plus those in larger 200/65 rear and 125/70 front sizes as well as two Superpole® tyres, one in standard size and the other in the larger size

Pirelli will be busy next week in Portugal at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve, where the tenth round of the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship will take place.

After the Misano round at the beginning of July and the summer break, the production-derived series riders have already got back on the Portuguese circuit in late August for the last official tests of the season during. There they could try some new development solutions brought by Pirelli as well as get back in contact with the circuit on which they will compete in a few days.

For this appointment, Pirelli will provide riders with solutions already used in the previous rounds. In particular, after the excellent results achieved at Misano, also in Portimão the main class will be able to count on standard solutions but also on the new solutions in larger 200/65 rear and 125/70 front sizes. And, as has already happened at Misano, this round will also have two qualifier tyres to be used in the second session of Superpole®, one in standard and the other in the larger size, so riders who may choose to use a bigger rear tyre for the race, can also use within the second session of Superpole®a 200/65 qualifier tyre and retain the same set-up.

The Autódromo Internacional do Algarve was designed by architect Ricardo Pina and was inaugurated exactly ten years ago. This track is 4592 metres long, with 9 right-handers and six left-hand corners and a configuration with a maximum gradient of 57 metres, a long turn radii that goes from 23 metres to a maximum of 207 metres, and a finishing straight which has a total length of 835 metres. The rider in pole position starts from the right side of the track.

In recent years the Portuguese circuit has undoubtedly less natural grip than when the asphalt was new, so is less severe on tyres than originally. It remains one of the circuits that best brings out the capacity of the tyre to operate in extremely different conditions because of its altitude changes and demanding blind entry curves.

Specifically, the rear tyre must go from low to extremely high temperatures, the front must be able to come into the turns mentioned above quickly and precisely. Unlike the rear, which undergoes few but intense mechanical/thermal stresses, the front is always engaged in slow turns with a quick entry and small curvature radii (tight corner) which forces the rider to brake sharply, sometimes downhill.

The most challenging part for the tyres is the last turn which is 350 metres long and takes 6.5 seconds to navigate, and due to the wide turning radius (about 150 metres), the bike is in constant acceleration and goes from 150 to 250 kph at a lean angle of about 50°. So there is a remarkable increase in temperature on the side of the tyre affected by the lean, particularly for the rear tyre which must withstand the high temperature while simultaneously ensuring strong lateral force and allowing the bike to accelerate. High running times and fixed lean angles can therefore generate much wheelspin and significant peaks in localised temperature at 45-50°C on the tyre shoulder. The weakening of the compound due to heat, even with smoother asphalt, causes significant levels of material removal.

Corners 5, 8, 11, 13, and 14 have on the contrary a very tight radius (about 30 metres), which forces the rider to brake to an extremely low speed. Halfway through the turn the bike needs the rear tyre, which is very cold, to provide strong longitudinal acceleration up to 1G at a lean angle of 50°. The tyres are particularly cold, especially coming into the left handers (numbers 5 and 13). The riders that can accelerate earliest may gain an important advantage.

The solutions for the WorldSBK and WorldSSP600 classes

For the Portuguese round Pirelli has brought a total of 4609 tyres, to meet the needs of all four classes of the Championship. In the event of bad weather, as usual in addition to dry tyres, rain tyres are also provided and, for the WorldSBK and WorldSSP categories, intermediate tyres as well.

In the WorldSBK category, the riders will have at their disposal ten dry solutions, four for the front and as many for the rear, as well as two supersoft qualifier tyres, one in the standard 200/60 size and the other in the bigger 200/65, to be used in the second session of Superpole®.

The solutions provided for the front are two in soft compound SC1 and two in medium compound SC2.

In addition to the standard SC1, those in the soft compound are the development versions V0952, much appreciated by riders in all the races this year, and X0417 which presents itself in the innovative 125/70 size compared to the 120/70 used by all the other solutions. As for the medium solution, the riders will be able to choose between the standard SC2 and the development SC2 X0605, a solution with a stiffer compound which compared to the standard SC2, offers greater solidity and precision, giving more consistent wear and greater grip.

As for the rear, the riders will have available four soft solutions, the standard SC0, plus development solutions. These comprise of the X0175, which debuted at Brno and was brought also to Misano, it uses the same compound of the standard SC0 but is in the new 200/65 size, the new X0022, also in the bigger size and with the SC0 compound but with different structural solutions compared to the X0175. Finally, the W1050, in a standard size and compared to the standard SC0, is generally more suitable for cold temperatures.

In the WorldSSP class six solutions, three for the front and as many for the rear. At the front the standard SC1 is supported by the development soft solution X0012 and the development SC2 X0582, designed to offer greater grip and more contained wear than the standard SC2.

The 2017 Pirelli statistics for Misano

• Total number of tyres brought by Pirelli: 4471 
• Number of solutions (including dry, intermediate and wet) for the Superbike class: 6 front and 6 rear 
• Number of tyres available for each Superbike rider: 40 front and 34 rear 
• Number of solutions for the Supersport class (including dry, intermediate and wet): 5 front and 4 rear 
• Number of tyres available for each Supersport rider: 25 front and 23 rear 
• Superbike Best Lap Awards both won by: Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team),in 1'42.937 (Race 1, 2nd lap) e in 1'43.148 (Race 2, 2nd lap) 
• Supersport Best Lap Award won by: Jules Cluzel (CIA Landford Insurance Honda), in 1'45.534 at 2nd lap 
• Temperature in Race 1: air 22° C, asphalt 38° C 
• Temperature in Race 2: air 24° C, asphalt 39° C 
• Maximum race speed reached by Pirelli DIABLO™ Superbike tyres: 305.1 km/hby Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) in Race 1 at the 5th lap 
• Maximum race speed reached by Pirelli DIABLO™ Supercorsa SC tyres in Supersport race: 276,9 km/h, by Niki Tuuli (Kallio Racing) at 4th lap.