Pirelli will take two new rear tyre compounds to Laguna Seca this weekend for the seventh round of the 2017 Superbike World Championship after major tyre issues blighted some riders at the previous two rounds.
Jonathan Rea and Michael van der Mark were thrown from their machines as their rear Pirelli tyre rapidly deflated and came off the wheel rim while they led races at Donington Park and Misano respectively.
Van der Mark also suffered with tyre deflation in the second race at Misano, as did Althea BMW’s Jordi Torres, leaving Pirelli with work to do ahead of Laguna Seca as they sought to establish the cause for the problems.
Pirelli took the offending tyres back to their laboratories for investigation and analysis and found that the damage was caused by the ‘excessive stress’ to which the tyres had been subjected with a specific mention of the high temperature in Misano and tyre pressures.
As such, as well as taking two new development compounds to Laguna this weekend, Pirelli have issued a reminder to teams to start the race with the advised minimum tyre pressure as pressures any lower could cause damage to the tyre.
“I believe it’s really evident to everyone that over the last few years Pirelli has been significantly increasing the level of performance of the tyres used in the Superbike World Championship,” said Pirelli race boss Giorgio Barbier. “Which, it is good to remind, are standard products regularly purchasable on the market and not prototypes like the ones used in MotoGP. With time, the power and the technological level of the bikes has also clearly increased compared to the past.
“The more the level of the tyre’s performances increases, the more the product’s “sensitivity” to the smallest of external variables, such as the pressures, increases. After what happened in the last two rounds we have decided to carry out an additional step for our product’s development, and we will continue to do so because we want to match the excellent performance with maximum reliability, which has always been a characteristic our tyres.
“We should also mention the fact that the product’s development hasn’t progressed at the same speed as Pirelli’s possibility to monitor its tyres during the race. In other championships the tyre manufacturer is able to know, in real time, the pressure as each bike is equipped with pressure sensors. For us, this kind of control is currently impossible as not every team has pressure sensors. The pressures, together with a correct utilization of the tyre warmers, play a very important role in allowing tyres with an extremely high technological level to work properly”.
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