SBK 17″ Pirelli Aragon Test: 1.5 Seconds Faster

World Superbike Pirelli Tire Test

Beginning in 2013, the World Superbike Championship grid will start using new, 17-inch Pirelli Diablo Superbike tires rather than the 16.5-inch sizes currently in use.

And on Monday, following round eight of the 2012 World SBK Championship at Motorland Aragon, some riders remained at the Spanish circuit to participate in the debut test of the 17-inch tires. And when all was completed, a few rider’s lap times were 1.5 seconds faster with the bigger rims/tires.

The fasest rider during the one-day test was Kawaskai Racing’s Tom Sykes, the Brit who has taken six poles in eight rounds. His lap of 1:57.254 compares favorably with the existing race lap record, set on race tires not qualifying rubber, of 1:58.251.

The tests, open to all and organized by Infront and Pirelli, which bore the costs for the track and for supplying the tires, involved the following teams with their respective riders: Aprilia Racing Team, Althea Racing, Honda World Superbike Team, FIXI Crescent Suzuki, BMW Motorrad Motorsport, BMW Motorrad Italia Goldbet, Kawasaki Racing Team and Pata Racing Team.

Grillini Progea Superbike Team, ParkinGO MTC Racing and Team Pedercini instead chose not to take part in the development tests of the new 17-inch tires but only in those relating to the new 16.5-inch solutions for the current season. The teams Red Devils Roma and Team Effenbert Liberty Racing instead communicated their decision not to perform the tests.

The test involved two sessions, one organized in the morning and one in the afternoon, lasting 2 hours and 20 minutes each, during which the riders were able to try out three different 17-inch solutions on the front and two solutions on the rear, all in intermediate SC1 compound but different in terms of structure, construction materials and profiles.

In particular in the test for development of the 17-inch tires the riders first did a few laps with the 16.5-inch tires in the SC1 compound which they have available during the year before moving on to the 17-inch solutions. The decision to perform the test with solutions still in SC1 compound, as already communicated, was taken to ensure that the riders were totally focused on the different size rather than on other features of the tyres.

In the morning session the new 17-inch tires were tested by Max Biaggi, Davide Giugliano, Jonathan Rea, Leon Camier, Leon Haslam, Ayrton Badovini, Loris Baz and Lorenzo Zanetti. In the afternoon instead it was the turn of Carlos Checa, John Hopkins, Marco Melandri, Michel Fabrizio and Tom Sykes. Each rider did on average approximately 30 laps.

The table below compares the results for the fastest laps of the single riders obtained in the order of Race 1 on Sunday, when the weather conditions were certainly more favorable than Race 2 and enabled them to achieve better times, and then in Monday’s tests first with the standard 16.5-inch tire that they have available in races and then with 17-inch tires.

Pirelli Tire Lap Times:

Max Biaggi (Aprilia Racing Team):

  • Sunday’s Race 1 Fastest Time (16.5″): 1’58.391
  • Monday’s Test Fastest Lap (16.5″) 1’58.639
  • Monday’s Test Fastest Lap (17″): 1’58.054

Carlos Checa (Althea Racing):

  • 1’58.954
  • 1’59.217
  • 1’58.720

Davide Giugliano (Althea Ducati):

  • 2’00.193
  • 1’59.751
  • 1’58.283

Jonathan Rea (Honda World Superbike Team):

  • 2’00.280
  • 1’58.201
  • 1’59.511

Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki):

  • 2’00.564
  • 1’58.973
  • 1’59.294

John Hopikins (FIXI Crescent Suzuki):

  • 2’00.581
  • 2’00.710
  • 2’00.588

Leon Haslam (BMW Motorrad Motorsport)

  • 1’59.933
  • 1’59.173
  • 1’58.150

Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad Motorsport):

  • 1’58.251
  • 1’58.809
  • 1’58.665

Michel Fabrizio (BMW Motorrad Italia Goldbet):

  • 1’59.993
  • 1’59.258
  • 1’59.096

Ayrton Badovini (BMW Motorrad Italia Goldbet):

  • 1’58.982
  • 1’58.823
  • 1’57.658

Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team):

  • 2’00.154
  • 2’01.010
  • 1’59.721

Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team):

  • 1’59.159
  • 1’57.462
  • 1’57.254

Lorenzo Zanetti (Pata Racing Team Aprilia):

  • 2’00.025
  • 2’00.496
  • 2’00.096

As can be seen in most cases the riders improved their lap times considerably, up to a maximum of 1.5 seconds. In other cases they equalled the performance obtained with 16.5-inch tires.

Giorgio Barbier
(Pirelli Moto Racing Director) says: “The results of (Monday’s) tests are a very promising starting point with no dark corners, on which to build new developments. The challenge for us at Pirelli will be to construct the new range and scaling starting from this interesting step forward.”

Thanks to the feedback received during the tests in the next few days Pirelli will identify the solution that was most appreciated by the riders. On this basis it will develop not only the tire in the standard SC1 compound for next year but also the entire range of compounds.

Already starting from 2013, these tires will also be marketed and made available to all customers, who will in any case be able to choose whether to buy 16.5-inch rather than 17-inch tires.

With the introduction of the new 17″ tires in the Superbike World Championship from next year Pirelli will be present with this new size in all World and National Championships in which it takes part, with the exception of the British Superbike Championship which, given its importance, needs another year before being able to change to 17 inches. The change will however be made starting in 2014.