A special tyre will be introduced for the new sprint races in World Superbikes this season, MCN can reveal. For the first time in the 32-year history of the Superbike World Championship, weekends will be made up of three races.
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The ‘Tissot Superpole Race’, as it is officially named, will come on Sunday mornings and will be the second of the weekend’s three encounters. It will award points to the top nine riders with 12 for the winner and, critically, the same top nine will start the afternoon’s Race 3 in that order. Regardless of the circuit, the sprint race duration will be ten laps which is set to guarantee action from start to finish.
Throwing another variable into the mix, sole tyre supplier Pirelli has decided to create a new tyre for these sprint races. The new compound, dubbed the SCX, will first appear at Aragon for Round 3 in early April.
The idea of the SCX is to have a rear tyre which lasts for half the distance of a usual race compound but longer than a qualifying tyre. It will be identified by red stickers.
The SCX will not be compulsory in the sprint races. This allows the possibility of a real mix-up: will riders elect for a usual race tyre to ensure better durability or fit the SCX for greater pace while running the risk of losing grip in the closing stages?
The new tyre will also be available in Saturday’s Superpole. The idea is to use the SCX for early runs before fitting qualifying tyres at the end of the session as usual. In theory this allows riders to have a better idea of the increased pace ready for their one run on qualifying tyres.
At present the sudden leap from a standard race tyre to a qualifying tyre often results in crashes as riders are caught out by the increased grip from the rear end of the bike, which pushes the front and can causes lowsides.