With Pirelli standard DIABLO™ Superbike SC0 tyres Melandri and Sykes win one race each with the Englishman also breaking the track record in Superpole
In Race 1 the riders from the Noale-based manufacturer took advantage of an error made by the Akashi standard bearer at the corkscrew and in Race 2 a crash by Melandri served up Sykes’ eighth win of the season.
The weekend which has just come to an end at the Laguna Seca circuit was a long and exciting one which had the riders from the eni FIM World Superbike Championship taking to the track at this spectacular Californian circuit.
Pirelli demonstrated the significant steps forward that they have taken in development of the new DIABLO™ Superbike tyres for the 2014 season: with a new qualifier tyre Tom Sykes set the new track record and on purely standard compound tyres Aprilia and Kawasaki took one win each.
In Superpole on Saturday an impressive Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) managed to take full advantage of his bike’s setup and the new supersoft qualifying tyres in the DIABLO™ Superbike range, setting a new track record in the Superbike category at 1’21.811, improving the time Sylvain Guintoli had made last year by an incredible 9 tenths of a second. It is also interesting to note how, thanks to the new tyres made by Pirelli for Superpole, 4 riders (Sykes, Guintoli, Davies and Giugliano) were able to lap below last year’s Superpole times.
In Race 1, Marco Melandri (Aprilia Racing Team), who started from the fifth spot on the second row of the grid, and his team mate Sylvain Guintoli, second on the grid, managed to overtake Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) in the first lap at the “Corkscrew” and set a fast pace straight away, thanks in part to the performance provided by their standard Pirelli DIABLO™ Superbike SC0 soft blend rear tyres. As the laps went by the standard bearers from the Noale-based manufacturer increased their advantage over the Akashi-based manufacturer’s English rider, but it was Marco Melandri who set the race pace, increasing the gap in front of his team mate lap after lap as well. The Italian rode under the chequered flag with an advantage of almost a second over the Frenchman while Tom Sykes took the third step of the podium at a gap of 6.6 seconds behind Melandri. If there were still any doubts as to the superiority of the three riders, they were dispelled by the 13.5 second gap that was created between the race winner and fourth place finisher Davide Giugliano (Ducati Superbike Team).
In Race 2 Championship leader Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) was on a flawless ride. Starting in pole position he held onto the lead from the time the lights went out until the ninth lap when a crash by Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) brought the red flags out. At the restart there were 7 laps to race. Marco Melandri (Aprilia Racing Team) got out of the gates immediately, overtaking the English Kawasaki rider, but in the first lap a second accident, this time involving Sylvain Barrier (BMW Motorrad Italia Superbike Team) and fortunately without serious consequences, red flagged the race once again. The 7 lap dash had to be started over again. Marco Melandri burst off the line again ahead of Tom Sykes, moving into the lead but in the second lap he took a slide and was forced to withdraw, as was Davide Giugliano who crashed a little later. At this point Tom Sykes had a clear path toward his eighth win of the season while Sylvain Guintoli, second across the line, took home some important points. Third under the chequered flag was Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike Team).
Comment from Giorgio Barbier, Pirelli Moto Racing Director:
“We drew quite a bit of satisfaction from Laguna Seca once again this year. Already on Friday from the first qualifying sessions almost all the riders were lapping a full second faster than last year. What’s more, they were using SC1 and not SC0 tyres. Then, as the track cleaned up and the temperatures went up a few days during the day, times got even better through Saturday when Tom Sykes astonished everyone by improving on the track record Guintoli had set last year by almost a second. Even in the races, with purely standard soft rear tyres which are available to anyone on the market, the race pace was extremely high, so there is no doubt that we can consider ourselves satisfied with the performance our standard tyres demonstrated, both in terms of grip and duration. Today the Aprilia riders did a great job, showing that they have a competitive bike and all the right stuff to battle with Sykes and Baz’s Kawasakis all the way to the end of the championship. There are still four rounds to go and anything can happen. We are confident that this year, like every year, the Championship will be decided only in the final races.”
The Pirelli solutions chosen by the riders:
For the front the solution used by most riders was the SC1 S1699 development, selected in both races by 4/5 of the riders on the grid. This is the tyre that was first brought to Aragón and met with success and it was also the most popular solution at Assen, Imola, Donington, Misano and Portimão.
On the rear the Superbike riders almost unanimously opted for the softstandard solution, the SC0, whereas most of the EVO class riders preferred the soft solution reserved for them, the R1368, already seen in action at Imola and Misano.
Pirelli Best Lap Awards:
The “Pirelli Best Lap Awards” are awarded by Pirelli to the riders who set the fastest race lap in Superbike and Supersport. This prestigious recognition is presented by a Pirelli representative during the Paddock Show in a press conference which follows the podium at the end of the races, for a total of three awards each weekend.
The Superbike and Supersport riders who have earned the most “Pirelli Best Lap Award” titles at the end of the season will be elected “Best Lap Winner: fastest rider of the year” and awarded during the end of year ceremony. At the moment Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) leads the Superbike standings with 4 Best Lap Awards.
These are the riders who won the Pirelli Best Lap Awards at Laguna Seca:
WSB Gara 1 – Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team),1’23.559(7th lap)
WSB Gara 2 – Davide Giugliano (Ducati Superbike Team),1’23.403 (2nd lap)
The overall standings of the Superbike class after nine rounds are as follows:
WSB: Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team): 4; Chaz Davies (Ducati Superbike Team): 3; Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team): 3; Marco Melandri (Aprilia Racing Team): 2; Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike Team): 2; Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki): 2; Davide Giugliano (Ducati Superbike Team): 2
The 2014 Pirelli statistics for the Laguna Seca round:
• Total number of tyres Pirelli brought: 1939
• Number of solutions (dry, intermediate and wet) for the Superbike class: 5 front and 7 rear
• Number of tyres available for each Superbike rider: 30 front and 38 rear
• Temperature in Race 1: air 21° C, asphalt 38° C
• Temperature in Race 2 (Wet): air 20° C, asphalt 49° C
• Maximum race speed reached by Pirelli DIABLO™ Superbike tyres: 259.3 kms/h, in Race 1 by Eugene Laverty (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) at 2nd lap