WorldSBK at Donington Park: Pirelli counts on soft rear solutions
Many of the options already used at the Imola round are confirmed with the addition to the rear, for the WorldSBK riders, of the standard SC0 solution and, in case of bad weather, a new wet development tyre
After the Imola round, next weekend the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship will move to Donington Park in the UK, where the sixth round will take place from 25th to 27th May 2018.
For this appointment, Pirelli decided to rely mainly on soft rear solutions both in the WorldSBK and in the WorldSSP class, although there will be no shortage of options in the SC1 compound which are more protected in the event of low temperatures.
In addition, in the event of rain, riders in the premier class will be able to decide to use a new wet rear tyre totally redesigned in terms of tread pattern, profiles and compound in order to offer better performance, especially in the case of rain combined with cold temperatures.
The Donington Park circuit is located in the East Midlands 180km north of London, near Sherwood Forest and was built in 1931 specifically for motorcycle racing, in a natural amphitheatre which is fantastic for spectators.
The track is 4.023 metres long with 7 right-hand turns and 5 left-handers. It runs clockwise and the pole position rider starts on the left. The maximum gradient is 8% and the turn radii go from a minimum of 24 metres to a maximum of 333 metres.
It is partly made up of fast flowing lines with undulating hills (i.e. Hollywood) and the second half of the circuit slow turns with short straight stretches in between which require sharp braking and acceleration such as the Melbourne Hairpin (turn 10). Then, on the straight stretch coming out of the Coppice (turn 8) the highest acceleration coming out of a turn is reached.
But the most interesting sections of the circuit are the two medium turns that break up the straight stretch opposite the finish (Old Hairpin and McLeans Corner) where the bikes never drop below 100 kph. The rider can make up significant time by riding fast, very near the kerb.
In the first part of the circuit great stability is required for the front end. Consequently the main goal of the front tyre must be to hold its conformation as much as possible and to guarantee the support needed to manage downhill turns. Particularly when hot, where the elasticity and rigidity of the tyre decreases, the use of a rigid front tyre may prove to be necessary.
The rear tyre is affected mainly by the sharp and violent acceleration which is typical of the track, especially coming out of Coppice. In cold weather conditions the tread compound, especially the softer ones, struggles to reach proper operating temperatures and, because of the high rigidity properties, risks suffering cuts and surface tears in acceleration. Wear from tearing tends to decrease greatly with high temperatures. On the other hand, however, in these conditions the track generally provides very poor grip. Therefore, in order to guarantee more precise lines, the riders can resort to using softer solutions.
The solutions for the WorldSBK and WorldSSP classes
Overall, the tyres that Pirelli carries across the Channel for all four classes which will participate in the DoningtonPark round are 4565. As always, this quantity, in addition to dry solutions, also includes rain tyres in case of bad weather and, for the WorldSBK and WorldSSP categories, also intermediate tyres.
In the WorldSBK class the riders can count on seven dry solutions plus the supersoft rear qualifier tyre.
Three solutions are provided for the front and are all already known by riders who have been able to use them in previous rounds, Imola included. In addition to the standard SC1 and SC2 the development SC1 V0952 will be present, a tyre already used by riders in many rounds last year and throughout 2018. This option uses the same compound of the standard SC1 featuring different structural solutions.
As for the rear, the riders will have at their disposal four solutions, among these three in soft and one in medium compound. The soft are: the standard SC0, which as far as now was brought only to the thai round of Buriram, the W1050, which compared to the standard SC0 is generally more suitable for harsh temperatures, and the W1002 solution that uses the same compound of the W1050 but presents itself in the innovative 200/65 size. The fourth and last option, which could be used especially if the temperatures are too low to allow the use of a soft solution, is represented by the standard SC1.
In addition, in the event of rain, for the rear the riders will have the opportunity to test a new wet tyre, the X0333 solution, which compared to the standard one has been completely redesigned in terms of tread design, profiles and compound, and offers better performance especially in case of rain at low temperatures.
In the WorldSSP class the riders will find the same solutions already brought from Pirelli to Imola for a total of six solutions for dry, three front and three rear.
At the front the standard SC1 and SC2 are supported by the development soft solution X0012 which at Imola was used a lot by the riders because it improves handling and performance.
For the rear, the development SC0 X0497, which compared to the standard solution should offer better resistance and consistent performance, will be an alternative option to the standard SC0 and SC1.
The 2017 Pirelli statistics for Donington Park
• Total number of tyres brought by Pirelli: 4815
• Number of solutions (including dry, intermediate and wet) for the Superbike class: 7 front and 7 rear
• Number of tyres available for each Superbike rider: 45 front and 38 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 21 rear
• Superbike Best Lap Awards won by: Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team),in 1'27.655 (Race 1, 7th lap) and by Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team),in 1'27.815(Race 2, 18th lap)
• Supersport Best Lap Award won by: Jules Cluzel (CIA Landford Insurance Honda), in 1'30.533(2nd lap)
• Temperature in Race 1: air 18° C, asphalt 30° C
• Temperature in Race 2: air 20° C, asphalt 35° C
• Maximum race speed reached by Pirelli DIABLO™ Superbike tyres: 273.4 km/h, in Race 1 by Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati) at the 12th lap.
• Maximum race speed reached by Pirelli DIABLO™ Supercorsa SC tyres in Supersport race: 243.8 km/h, by David Allingham (EHA Racing Jewsons Yamaha) at 1st lap.