World Superbike bosses have enforced a mandatory pit stop during tomorrow’s second World Superbike race after a number of riders experienced severe tyre difficulties during today’s opening race.
Marco Melandri stormed to victory in the first race of the year from Tom Sykes and Chaz Davies, but a number of riders encountered significant tyre problems – including reigning World Champion Jonathan Rea who finished fifth.
Pedercini Kawasaki’s Yonny Herndandez crashed out of the race at Siberia after his tyre is understood to have ‘exploded’, as the colder temperatures than usual at Phillip Island have boosted grip levels and put further pressure on the Pirelli rubber at a circuit already notorious for being hard on tyres.
Following a teams’ meeting, it has now been decided that no rider can do more than 12 laps on a slick tyre, meaning riders will have to make a compulsory pit stop to change for fresh rubber at the end of lap 10, 11 or 12 should the race be dry.
The procedure is nothing new for Phillip Island. Back in 2013 MotoGP bosses introduced pit stops during the Australian round after similar tyre concerns, with World Champion Marc Marquez famously missing the pit window and getting disqualified from the race.