Under the starry sky of Qatar, Pirelli faces the last round of the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship
The grand finale will appoint the new WorldSSP600 Champion, the only class to go on track at Losail together with the WorldSBK; Pirelli relies on the most appreciated solutions over the season
As usual, this year's MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship season will end in Qatar where, at the Losail International Circuit in Doha, illuminated by artificial lights, WorldSBK and WorldSSP riders will face the final round of 2017 season.
With the titles already assigned in the other classes, the focus will be on the FIM Supersport World Championship that will see Lucas Mahias (GRT Yamaha Official World SSP Team) going on track with a 20-point advantage over Kawasaki's Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) who, after the injury healed at Magny-Cours, will try to go back to Qatar to defend his reigning World Champion title.
To tackle this challenging track, which is unique in that it is held in the evening leveraging on the powerful and innovative lighting system offered by the circuit, Pirelli decided to rely on tyre solutions which were most appreciated across both classes this year.
The Losail International Circuit, inaugurated in 2004, is mostly surrounded by artificial vegetation to limit the deposition of sand coming from the desert. However, often in the first sessions riders have to "clean up" the track from the sandy deposits which can be present on the asphalt. Since the year of its inauguration, the circuit has never been re-surfaced and presents now a worn surface that requires tyres with good grip, capable of compensating for the grip lost over the years by the asphalt. The track requires a good compromise between the stability of the front tyre during demanding braking and at the same time, good traction from the rear, in order to correctly set the trajectories in the fast corners. The front tyre must be able to absorb the high accumulated power during braking and at the same time counteract the high risk of deformation, while for the rear it is necessary to opt for a soft compound, capable of effectively impacting the road surface and simultaneously offering adequate traction.
The solutions for WorldSBK and WorldSSP classes
For the last round of the season Pirelli brings a total of 2808 tyres to meet the needs of WorldSBK and WorldSSP600 class riders. As always, not all of Pirelli's tyres will be used, each rider has more options available and can choose what he wants to use for racing, concentrating set-up work with those options. In addition, there are intermediate and wet solutions that are only used when needed. By regulation, however, WorldSBK riders cannot use more than 24 tyres throughout the race weekend, an amount which is reduced to 18 in the WorldSSP600 class.
In WorldSBK, each rider will have at his disposal, including the two wet solutions and the rear qualifier tyre, 5 front solutions and as many for the rear. The dry solutions are therefore three for the front and two for the rear, in addition to the qualifier rear tyre, in this case the W0220 solution already seen in action also at Imola, Donington, Misano, Laguna Seca and Lausitzring.
Losail Internation Circuit
For the front, the standard SC1 (soft) and SC2 (medium) will be flanked by the development SC1 V0952, which uses the same compound of the standard SC1 but has different structural solutions which this year has already been used in the rounds of Aragon, Assen, Imola, Donington, Misano, Laguna Seca, Lausitzring, Portimão, Magny-Cours and Jerez.
At the rear, for the races the riders will be able to choose the soft W0575 development solution, introduced at Laguna Seca and race tyre also at Lausitzring, Portimão and Magny-Cours, and the standard SC1, which offers a medium hardness of the compound positioning halfway between the soft and hard solution.
The number of solutions available to riders for the WorldSSP race is similar. At the front, Pirelli points to all soft solutions: in addition to the standard SC1, there will be two development solutions: the W0378, which uses the same compound of the standard SC1 but with a different constructive process of application of the compound on the carcass, and the V0533 which has also been used at Phillip Island, Buriram and Imola.This offers a compound which is positioned more or less halfway between the standard SC1 and a SC2. At the rear two standard solutions: the SC0 (soft), which will be the ideal choice for high temperatures, and the SC1 (medium) that may be useful in case of lower asphalt temperatures typical of night hours or, especially in the first day of practices, if the track should be particularly dirty due to the sand deposited by the wind.
Pirelli 2016 statistics for Losail
• Total number of tyres Pirelli brought: 2745
• Number of solutions (dry, intermediate and wet) for the WorldSBK class: 6 front and 6 rear
• Number of tyres available for each WorldSBK rider: 38 front and 30 rear
• Number of solutions (dry, intermediate and wet) for the WorldSSP class: 5 front and 4 rear
• Number of tyres available for each WorldSSP rider: 22 front and 18 rear
• Superbike Best Lap Awards won by: Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati), in 1'57.371 (Race 1, 2nd lap) and Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team), in 1'56.974 (Race 2,3rd lap)
• Supersport Best Lap Awards won by: Kyle Smith (CIA Landlord Insurance Honda), in 2'02.443 at 2nd lap
• Temperature in Race 1: air 27° C, asphalt 28° C
• Temperature in Race 2: air 26° C, asphalt 27° C
• Maximum race speed reached by Pirelli DIABLO™ Superbike tyres: 321.4 km/h, by Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) in Race 2 at 2nd lap
• Maximum race speed reached by the Pirelli DIABLO™ Supercorsa tyres: 276.9 km/h, achieved by Ayrton Badovini (Gemar Balloons - Team Lorini) in the 3rd lap.