Pirelli takes Phillip Island by storm: on the demanding Australian track the DIABLO™ range is put to the test and confirms its technological superiority
The top step of the podium goes to Laverty, Guintoli and Cluzel with Chaz Davies improving on the race fast lap set last year by 2 tenths of a second and two riders from the brand new Superbike EVO class placing in the top ten The results are in from round one of the eni FIM World Superbike Championship, held today on the demanding Phillip Island track, and they are positive for Pirelli. After the excellent performance achieved last year, the tyre manufacturer from Milan once again proved that it can handle the tricky Australian track which has always been a nightmare for tyre manufacturers from all over the world because of its very particular layout with a lot of left-handers that stress the tyres especially on one side, as well as the high temperatures that the asphalt can reach. Pirelli's DIABLO™ range with the DIABLO™ Superbike and DIABLO™ Supercorsa used respectively in the Superbike and Supersport classes placed all the riders in the best conditions to work on the bike and find the best race set-up. In the top class Eugene Laverty (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki), Sylvain Guintoli and Marco Melandri (Aprilia Racing Team) together with EVO rider David Salom (Kawasaki Racing Team) were the riders who most skilfully used their tyres, conserving them well thanks to the excellent bike set-up their respective teams made. The Ducati Superbike Team riders, struggling a bit more in Race 1, in any case achieved an excellent fourth place in both races with Davide Giugliano and in Race 2, thanks to a change made to the bike set-up and more careful use of the tyres, Chaz Davies, winner of the Pirelli Best Lap Award for his fast lap in Race 1, also improved his performance, finishing in seventh place. The performance of French rider David Salom's EVO Superbike is also worth a mention, 9th and 10th and best of the EVO Superbike riders, as well as Niccolò Canepa (Althea Racing) who rode his Ducati 1199 Panigale R EVO to a 10th and 11th place finish after an excellent weekend of timed free practice sessions. In Supersport MV Agusta brought home an historic win with Jules Cluzel (MV AGUSTA RC-Yakhnich Motorsport) taking the top step of the podium after 38 years: in fact, their last success dates back to 1976 when Giacomo Agostini rode his MV Agusta 350 4 cylinder to win on the Nürburgring track. Comment from Giorgio Barbier, Pirelli Moto Racing Director: “We know that this is a difficult and demanding track for tyres, it always has been, and even after the resurfacing in December 2012 other tyre manufacturers have had problems here. Given the situation we cannot help but feel satisfied with the work done over the winter and the results achieved here at Phillip Island. Thanks to the tyres developed we were able to place all the riders, both Superbike and Supersport, in a position to be able to finish the races on what may very well be the most feared track for all tyre manufacturers. What's more, Chaz Davies set an excellent fast lap, improving the already excellent result achieved by Eugene Laverty last year by 2 tenths of a second. This demonstrates that tyre performance was very good in any case. Of course it is only natural that in extreme situations like the one here at Phillip Island the teams' skills in setting up the bikes and the riders' skills preserving the tyre can make a big difference. This is all part of the game. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the rear tyres on the top three riders' bikes were in very good condition despite the peculiarities of the track that we know well. The EVO results were also excellent. Using the same tyres as the Superbike riders Salom and Canepa took home excellent results. I'll be curious to see their performance in Europe when the EVO riders will have a dedicated rear race tyre which should reduce the gap with the Superbike riders by a few tenths.” The Pirelli solutions chosen by the riders: For the first round of the 2014 eni FIM World Superbike Championship, given the peculiarities of the track, Pirelli brought 5 rear development solutions for the Superbike class in medium-soft blend and 2 front standard solutions, the SC1 and SC2, of its DIABLO™ Superbike slick tyres. For the front the riders, as often happens, were basically split on their preferences between the two standard solutions, with a slight preference for the SC2 chosen by 13 and 14 riders respectively in Race 1 and Race 2. On the rear the race tyre, chosen unanimously by all the riders, was the SC1 development solution S1633, which had already set the bar in the 2013 round, in a medium-soft blend with different internal structure and materials designed to keep the operating temperatures particularly low. In Supersport, the Championship where DIABLO™ Supercorsa SC grooved tyres are used, the preferences feel to the SC1 development solution (S1664) on the rear, chosen by about 80% of the riders, a medium-soft blend solution which also uses the profile used in 2013 for the Istanbul and Jerez de la Frontera races. On the front practically all the riders opted for the standard SC1 solution, ideal for medium difficulty circuits. Pirelli Best Lap Award: The “Pirelli Best Lap Award” is awarded by Pirelli to the rider who sets the fastest race lap. This recognition is presented by a Pirelli representative during the Paddock Show in a press conference which follows the podium at the end of the races, for a total of three awards each weekend. The time set by the fastest rider and his name are displayed on the trophy which this year has a ring set inside it for the rider to wear that bears an inscription of the track layout. The Superbike and Supersport rider who has earned the most “Pirelli Best Lap Award” titles at the end of the season will be elected “Best Lap Winner: fastest rider of the year” and awarded in the usual end of year ceremony. These are the riders who won the Pirelli Best Lap Awards in the first round of the season: WSB Race 1 – Chaz Davies (Ducati Superbike Team), 1'30.949 (2nd lap) WSB Race 2 – Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team), 1'31.421 (12th lap) WSS – Roberto Tamburini (San Carlo Puccetti Racing), 1’33.883 (4th lap) The 2014 Pirelli statistics for the Phillip Island round: • Total number of tyres Pirelli brought: 3580 • Number of solutions (dry, intermediate and wet) for the Superbike class: 4 front and 7 rear • Number of tyres available for each Superbike rider: 30 front and 48 rear • Number of solutions for the Supersport class (dry, intermediate and wet):: 4 front and 4 rear • Number of tyres available for each Supersport rider: 23 front and 25 rear • Temperature in Race 1: air 21° C, asphalt 32° C • Temperature in Race 2: air 22° C, asphalt 48° C • Maximum race speed reached by Pirelli Diablo Superbike tyres: 321.4 kms/h, in Race 2 by Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) at 2nd lap • Maximum race speed reached by Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa tyres in Supersport: 280.5 kms/h, Jules Cluzel (MV AGUSTA RC-Yakhnich Motorsport) at 5th lap.