In the following report, Giorgio Barbier, Racing Director of Pirelli Moto, gives an indepth tire report from the opening round of the 2011 World Superbike Championship at Phillip Island, Australia, that occurred this past weekend.
Pirelli is the sole tire in the 2011 World Superbike and World Supersport championships. Giorgio Barbier says: "A very difficult way to start off the eighth season as official tire supplier to WSBK, Pirelli brought 2000 tyres to carry out two days of testing earlier in the week, with riders testing 4 fronts and 5 rears, some of which were also made available for the race weekend. "The total lot of 3000 Diablo Superbike and Diablo Supercorsa tires brought for racing included mid-soft (SC1), medium (SC2) and hard (SC3) compound choices for the front and SC0 (soft) and SC1 (mid-soft) tires for the rear, including a newly developed wider and taller profile. Conditions on track changed radically over the week, starting from 50% humidity and 24-30°C on track, to the 55% humidity and 49°C found during Friday practice and Superpole. "With Sunday morning rain, the SBK and SSP teams prepared for Race 1, having to make setup adjustments for the new conditions: 23°C track temps and 75% humidity. Checa (Ducati) proved strongest all week, having dipped below the 1’31 mark in testing and repeating this feat in Superpole, setting a new best lap of 1’30.882 and took pole position. "The ‘B’ medium compound front and ‘B’ mid-soft compound rear were the 1-2 finishers’ tire selection, although podium finishers Haslam (BMW) and Melandri (Yamaha) opted for the ‘D’ medium compound rear designed just for Phillip Island, helping Haslam record BMW’s third podium and Melandri’s first in SBK. "Four riders opted to make tyre changes for Race 2: Xaus (Honda), Haga (Aprilia) and Corser (BMW) mounted the "A" soft compound rear, and Checa chose the ‘B’ medium front tire."In Supersport, Foret (Honda) set a lap record and Yamaha returned to the podium with Scassa’s victory, who was in turn followed by Parkes (Kawasaki) and Lowes (Honda). "Tire difficulties encountered in Supersport and also changes from Race 1 to Race 2 in Superbike indicate that work needs to continue towards solutions for the humid track conditions endured during the weekend."