Pirelli returns to Motorland Aragón, the first European round of the eni FIM World Superbike Championship, where last year the new Diablo Superbike 17 inch tyres were christened
After the positive seasonal début in February in Australia where average race lap times were reduced by 1 second compared to 2012, the new Pirelli tyres return to Spanish soil, where in 2012 Superbike riders tried them for the first time during a testing session to compare the racing performance with the old 16.5″ tyres
The new Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SC tyres make their début, already used last year by Supersport riders and in the Superstock 1000 FIM Cup and Superstock 600 UEM European Championship
After the racing début at the end of February on the Australian Phillip Island track, the new Pirelli Diablo Superbike 17 inch tyres return to Spain, to Motorland Aragón, where last year they were tested for the first time by the Superbike riders during sessions held the Monday following the race weekend. In Australia, beyond the excellent times that were put on the boards, a realistic comparison with the 16.5 inch predecessors was not possible due to the new asphalt. Therefore, the conditions the 17″ tyres are called on to tackle at Motorland Aragón will constitute the first direct comparison with the Diablo Superbike tyres used until last year.
The first European round of the eni FIM World Superbike Championship will take place this year on the Motorland Aragón track from 12 to 14 April.
La Ciudad del Motor de Aragón, better known as Motorland Aragón, is a race track located in Alcañiz a town in the Spanish community of Aragona with the same name.
5,344 m long, the track was designed by the well known German architect Hermann Tilke and opened in 2009. It has hosted the World Superbike Championship since 2011.
Because this is the first European round, Motorland Aragón will also be the setting for the annual launch of the Superstock 1000 FIM Cup and Superstock 600 UEM European Championship which this year will be using the same tyre used last year by the Supersport class, the new Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SC.
Unlike the Supersport class, where they are used in 120/70-17 on the front and 180/60-17 on the rear with various compound solutions to which development solutions can be added during the year, in Superstock 1000 the new Diablo Supercorsa SC will be used only in the SC2 compound, both on the front 120/70-17 and the rear 200/55-17, whereas for the Superstock 600 category they will be available in 120/70-17 SC1 compound on the front and 180/60-17 SC2 compound for the rear.
Last but not least, Motorland Aragón will be the setting for the first race of the European Junior Cup which will be raced this year on Honda CBR500R bikes shod with Diablo Supercorsa tyres in SC1 compound for the front and SC2 for the rear.
Motorland Aragón from a tyre point of view:
The most important aspect to take into consideration at Motorland Aragón when choosing rear tyres in definitely the track’s high tenor of aggressiveness. Primarily due to the marked roughness of the surface and the medium-low temperatures which will probably be found during the month of April, this is further intensified by the frequent presence of sandy residue blown in by the wind. In fact, this residue that comes to rest on the road surface, prevent the tyre tread from correctly contacting with the asphalt, causing loss of grip and drifting toward the centre in turns.
This is why it is not uncommon to see heavy wear and cold tearing on the rear tyres during the first sessions of the weekend and during warm-up. Precisely for this reason, when races are held at Aragón at the beginning or end of the championship season, in other words when temperatures are lower, the most possible protection is desirable, taking high mechanical resistance rear tyres (SC1 and SC2) and avoiding soft blends that would result in serious cold tearing and abrasion problems.
The choice of front tyres, on the other hand, beyond the aggressiveness of the asphalt which has only a partial impact on their wear, must bear in mind another two key aspects:
- the first is the violent braking section on the straight stretch opposite the stretch adjacent to pit lane (the longest in the World Championship after the one at Monza, 1,212 metres) and the steep slopes that cause high stress on the front. Both require a large amount of support from the front in order to prevent vibrations and movement going into turns. In this case, in order to overcome these types of problems, the ideal solution for the front is definitely the SC2.
- the second aspect, on the other hand, has to do with the fast turns and the multiple changes of direction, where excellent precision and grip on the surface are required. In order to reduce times to a minimum, the front compound grip cannot be neglected and this is why many riders prefer to use softer solutions like the SC1 which provide better traction.
Motorland Aragón from a technical point of view:
“The Motorland Aragón track is one where we have raced so far only with with moderately high temperatures in the months of June and July and which has rather demanding asphalt for the tyres because it is quite abrasive. For this reason compounds which are too soft, like the SC0 are not ideal on this track and the objective for us as tyre manufacturers is to find the right compromise between the stability and rigidity of the compounds and the grip they are able to produce when hot.” said Giorgio Barbier, Pirelli Moto Racing Director, “Coming back to this track will be quite a challenge for use because this is the first real comparison with the previous 16.5 inch tyres and the new 17 inch version, taking into consideration that since we are racing in April and not in June and July the temperatures will certainly be lower and to counter this we have brought a few development solutions which should be an excellent compromise between tyre grip and hardness”.
Pirelli solutions for the Superbike and Supersport classes:
As always, Pirelli provides the Superbike and Supersport riders with various solutions from which to choose for both the front and the rear. Some are development solutions and alternatives to the standard tyres. At Motorland Aragón the Superstock riders will also be making their début and for the occasion Pirelli will bring a total of 4707 tyres.
For the Superbike class Pirelli will provide three slick solutions for dry on the front and just as many for the rear. These are joined by the rear qualifier that riders will be able to use in the three Superpole sessions on Saturday and the intermediate solutions (3 available for the front and 4 for the rear) as well as wet solutions (8 for both the front and the rear).
On the front Pirelli has chosen standard slicks with an SC1 solution in a soft blend and the SC2 standard solution in medium blend which are joined by a development solution (S41) in a soft blend as an alternative to the standard SC1 (R426) intended to reduce cold tearing and to provide greater mechanical stability, a good compromise between the SC2 for solidity and the SC1 in terms of grip.
For the rear the riders will also be able to choose from three solutions, the standard SC1 (R828) medium compound already used at Phillip Island and the standard SC2 hard compound which is capable of providing greater resistance even in the event of low temperatures. The third option comes in the form of the R829, a development solution that, in terms of compound hardness, falls about halfway between the standard SC1 and SC2 and which was designed to combat the significant wear which is typical on this circuit.
Also, for the first time the new intermediate tyre (S44) will be making an entrance on the scene, available only for the rear on this occasion.
With all the recent years of experience as sole supplier for the World Superbike Championship, Pirelli decided to redesign the new Diablo Wet starting from scratch. The new tread design is halfway between the slick solutions and the rain solutions and was designed to improve performance on a wet/damp track and to make sure riders can finish the race in completely dry track conditions. The design was taken directly from the one on the rain tyre, making changes of the percentage of fills/voids in order to guarantee water drainage in wet track conditions and at the same time provide more surface to the compound in order to reduce stress, deformation and consequently overheating. The new design also has a shoulder which is more full compared to the centre of the tyre in favour of the different lean angles that can be reached on a wet or dry track. In other words, the Diablo Wet will be the ideal tyre to use if the race should begin in wet track conditions, for example due to recent or diminishing precipitation (typical summer storm) and finish with the track in completely dry conditions or, vice versa, if the race should begin on a dry track with weather conditions that change during the race resulting in rain.
This tyre will be particularly useful during the Championship since each rider can use only one bike and if the weather conditions change during the race, from this year they will be able to return to pit lane in order to change tyres (thanks to the “flag to flag” rule) but with the significant loss of time which will obviously result in such an operation. In this sense the Diablo Wet could be a valid racing strategy tool for those teams who decide to use it.
As regards Supersport, the riders will be able to choose a dry standard solution for the front, the SC1 soft blend and the SC2 medium, and for the rear they will have three SC1 solutions in medium compound, the standard one (R303) and two development solutions: the R1610 which has a compound designed for grip similar to the SC1 but with cold tearing resistance typical of an SC2 and the R787, more resistant to wear and which guarantees the mechanical stability of the compound.
The 2012 Pirelli statistics for Motorland Aragón:
• Total number of tyres Pirelli brought: 4583
• Number of solutions (dry, intermediate, wet and qualifier only for rear) for the Superbike class: 5 front and 7 rear
• Number of solutions for the Supersport class (dry, intermediate and wet): 4 front and 5 rear
Number of tyres available for each Superbike rider: 35 front and 40 rear
• Number of tyres available for each Supersport rider: 24 front and 28 rear
• Superbike Best Lap Awards both won by Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) in 1’58.251 (Race 1, 6th lap) and in 1’58.950 (Race 2, 3rd lap)
• Supersport Best Lap Awards won by: Sheridan Morais (Kawasaki Lorenzini) in 2’03.300 (2nd lap)
• Temperature in Race 1: air 22° C, asphalt 32° C
• Temperature in Race 2: air 25° C, asphalt 41° C
• Maximum race speed reached by Pirelli tyres: 332.9 km/h, Max Biaggi (Aprilia Racing Team) in Race 2 on the 5th lap