Pirelli rise to the challenge of the Portuguese roller coaster

For the Portuguese Grand Prix, Moto2™ and Moto3™ teams and riders can rely on the standard allocation provided by Pirelli for this season

The Autódromo Internacional do Algarve, in southern Portugal, hosts the second round of the FIM Grand Prix Motorcycle Racing, the Grande Prémio de Portugal.
After the early season tests and the first GP in Qatar, the Moto2™ and Moto3™ riders will have the opportunity to deepen their knowledge of Pirelli tyres on a circuit that is very different from that of Lusail, but which still offers interesting challenges for riders, bikes and tyres due to its layout with many ascents and descents plus blind corners making for a very spectacular and unique track.
Pirelli makes the standard allocation available to the riders of both classes, i.e. those originally nominated for the entire 2024 season.

In Portimão the tyres must adapt to different conditions
“Portimão presents a rather demanding layout for the tyres with an interesting mix of uphill and downhill corners and specifics to take into account. Unlike the rear, which undergoes few but intense mechanical/thermal stresses, the front tyre is constantly involved in slow-speed and fast-entry corners with a small radius of curvature. This forces the rider to brake suddenly, even when going downhill. However, it is a track that we know well because we have raced there several times with World Superbikes and for various tests, not least those last February with the Moto2 and Moto3 riders. Unfortunately, these last tests were affected by bad weather and rain so the riders were only able to get a small taste of our tyres. We have decided to rely on the standard 2024 allocation, so there will be no development tyres but exclusively standard tyres. We know that this circuit, despite the resurfacing in 2020, offers little grip and, especially in the case of low temperatures, it is not uncommon to notice graining and higher levels of wear, also due to wheelspin and the difficulty of warm-up the tyres. In the case of high temperatures, which are unlikely in this period, there would be even less grip on the track. When choosing the tyres to use, it will therefore be important to keep all these aspects in mind and find the best compromise for the conditions that will exist."

· Grip: even though the track was entirely resurfaced in 2020, it still has little chemical grip which translates into rather low levels of traction. Softer compounds can offer greater grip, harder ones are more protected from wear and could therefore be preferred over race distances.
· Elevation gain: the nickname ‘roller coaster’ is not accidental because the Portuguese circuit has truly notable height differences with a gradient that can reach 12% downhill and 6% uphill. Not infrequently, at the peak of some bumps, the motorbikes wheelie or even jump with both tyres off the ground.
· Braking: strong lateral and even longitudinal loads are present due to sudden braking. There are ten braking points along the track, which particularly affect the front tyre which is called upon to enter the corner quickly and precisely. Among the most difficult braking points is Turn 1 where you reach the end of the long main straight (almost 1000 metres) at high speed and after a bump, so strong braking is required: the front is particularly stressed because it has to cover many metres while leaning and braking at the same time. Other challenging curves are Turn 5, a counter-slope left hairpin downhill and curves 10-11 which can put the front of the bike into crisis.
· Tyre temperature: the rears go from corners where they reach very high temperatures on the shoulder to others where the leaning shoulder is very cold. In general, the right side is the one most stressed by high temperatures. The most challenging part is the last turn: due to the large turning radius the machine is constantly accelerating. With high travel times and fixed lean angles, significant temperature peaks are recorded on the right shoulder of the tyre. On the contrary, turns 3, 5, 8, 11 and 13 have a smaller radius of curvature in which the rider must brake to a very low speed. Once halfway through the corner, the bike requires strong longitudinal acceleration from the rear tyre, which is very cold. The tyres are particularly cold especially when entering the two slow left-hand turns, numbers 5 and 13.