Pirelli lands in the Gravity Racing world. And it does so thanks to a long work in research and development, now in the final prototyping phase, which saw the involvement of one of the top names in downhill, Fabien Barel.
The French champion is one of the world DH legends with an impressive resume that speaks for itself. Forty years old, he won his first World Champion title as a junior in 1998 (Mont Sainte-Anne, Canada) – Barel himself defined this as “a great achievement in my career, that came very early because I had started competing at 15 years of age and had the objective, in my last junior year, to win that race” – and won the World Championship as an elite twice in a row in 2004 (Les Gets, France) and in 2005 (Livigno, Italy). His prize record includes four European Championship podiums, seven DH national titles and many World Cup – and, more recently, EWS – victories and podiums. For Barel, winning two World Championship titles and “becoming world champion twice was incredible, especially because the first one was in France in 2004. Giving it your all to win that race, in that discipline, requires great physical and mental stamina and plenty of resolve to achieve your goals,” Barel explained.
Fabien is the ideal partner for Pirelli. Strong of his very long experience in Gravity biking specialities, remarkable technical skills and great riding sensibility on all MTB-related matters, he is the perfect athlete to entrust the development of the product range, including the new Scorpion tyres dedicated to DH.
From the first Scorpion models - that soon became the benchmark for the market - to the Downhill versions, already a reality on a prototype level. Thanks to the partnership with Fabien Barel, Pirelli continued the research and development process with severe tests carried out on the prototypes by the French athlete ahead of their début in competitions, expected this season with several athletes of international level in EWS and the DH World Cup.
“The involvement of Pirelli in the MTB Gravity racing world is a fantastic opportunity for everyone”, said Barel. “Pirelli is a global leader in tyre production as well as having a huge list of sporting successes. And when it comes to racing, having the expertise of the best on your side is an asset for everyone because it takes performance and the sport itself to the next level. I am a great believer in Pirelli’s technical skills and their ability to interpret the needs of the MTB world very well. There is already a consolidated range of MTB tyres on the market. My job is to help complement it with models dedicated to racing to bring successes comparable to those that the company achieved in motorsports in the past. Like Formula 1, motocross or Superbike, for instance. The clear and stated goal of these new tyres is to reach the top step of the podium.”