Tyre life key to success at Phillip Island

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Ahead of the opening round of the World Superbike championship at Phillip Island all the talk in the paddock is revolving around tyre choice for Sunday’s two 22 lap races.

The Phillip Island circuit is notoriously hard on tyres due to it being made up predominantly of long, fast left hand corners.

It seems that teams are faced with two choices when it comes to selcting a rear tyre for the race.

The first choice is Pirelli’s benchmark 190mm width race tyre which is capable of delivering impressive lap times but it remains unclear if it is capable of doing a full race distance.

The second choice is a new 200mm rear tyre which has good endurance but lacks the outright performance on the 190mm spec race tyre.

Nearly all the teams are trying to find a way to be able to use the 190mm tyre and have spent the two days working on suspension, electronics and traction control strategies to improve its durability.

What everyone is trying to avoid is a repeat of 2006 when Troy Bayliss stormed a way at the start of the first race to lead by over five seconds only to suffer acute tyre problems and slump to 6th place, 17 seconds behind the winner at the finish.

Another factor in the equation is the weather as track temperature will also play a part in ultimate tyre life.

There is also a local weather forecast that predicts a 75% chance of rain on Sunday, which could throw the entire race weekend and strategies on its head.