Ten Kate Honda boss Ronald ten Kate has raised serious concerns over the performance of the Pirelli tyres used in World Supersport after his rider Broc Parkes was ruled out of a potential podium finish at Imola.
Parkes who finished third in Australia last month saw any chance of a repeat performance end within the first three laps of the race as grip from his rear Pirelli dropped dramatically causing him to pull into the pits by lap five.
The Australian rider then fitted the exact same specification tyre and returned to the track where he posted consistently fast laps and set a new outright lap record.
Original tyre used for five laps before pulling in
Replacement tyre used for ten laps. Consistent 1.52s laps with a new lap record of 1.51.9s
Ten Kate said: “This is a championship that has a one-make tyre that is supposed to mean a level playing field for all of us.
"Unfortunately, we’ve seen two not-so-good tyres this weekend – the first was the last one in qualifying, which cost us a front row start, but this was not so important, because we were confident that we had the pace to do well in the race.
"The second one cost us the race because Broc had to pull in because it became almost dangerous for him to keep riding around. We changed it for the same spec of tyre and he managed to break the lap record and do lap times good enough to be challenging for the win.
"It just shows that there was nothing wrong with the rider, or the bike settings, or the team performance around here and there was clearly something else going on.
"After the tyre issues we had in Phillip Island and the tyre issues here, I strongly hope that neither we nor any other teams experience anything like this again in this championship because this is not how we should be racing.”
Parkes added: “We started the race with exactly the same tyre that we used in warm-up this morning. It was used and we put another nine laps on it, so maybe 15 laps, all up and it was fine.
"The tyre for the race was completely destroyed after two or three laps. After five laps, I couldn’t ride on it any more so I came into the pits. We put on a new tyre – again, exactly the same spec – and I went back out and set the best lap of the race, a new lap record, and lap times that were as good, or faster than the guys that won the race.
"That’s two races in a row where we’ve had issues and I feel sorry for the team. They’re spending all their own money to go racing this year and I guess they might rather go and play golf together, because this is useless to us.”
A Pirellis spokesman told MCN that the tyre would now be returned to the headquarters in Milan for analysis where a report will be given to the team before the next race at Assen in two weeks’ time.