Pirelli prepare for an epic BSB season as they bring 4,000 tyres to Brands Hatch to cater for all weather eventualities with nearly 200 riders across six exciting classes. New technical highlights include a new Superbike rear tyre with a wider operating window.

The MCE British Superbike Championship gets underway this weekend with an all new cast, as reigning Champion Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne goes head to head with the returning Ryuichi Kiyonari in the ‘War for Four’ as they battle to become the most successful rider in BSB history.

Pirelli Overview

The 2013 season will be a busy one for Pirelli as they not only remain the sole tyre supplier for the British Superbike and Supersport grids but will also be exclusively supplying four other major classes to supply 200 riders in total. The Pirelli National Superstock 1000 and 600 Championships, Ducati 848 TriOptions Challenge and the Triumph Triple Challenge will all race on the latest Diablo Supercorsa SC V2 tyres, meaning over 4,000 tyres will need to be transported to the world famous Kent circuit for the opening round.

In the blue riband class Pirelli will again be supplying Diablo Superbike ‘slick’ tyres including an all new SC1 ‘softer’ rear compound – featuring a wider operating window of temperature over last year’s version, plus the SC2 ‘harder’ option. The British weather will undoubtedly play its part over the course of the season so riders will also have access to the full Diablo ‘Rain’ tyre and the intermediate ‘Wet’ tyre.

The short Brands Hatch ‘Indy’ circuit is ridden in under 50 seconds, necessitating a race duration of thirty laps. Two short straights mean there are no sustained high speeds at this 1.2 mile near oval circuit. The track is predominantly right handed with the sharp, downhill Graham Hill Bend left-hander a notable caution area for riders, especially in the early laps before there is much heat build-up in the left hand side of the tyre.

To create some tyre heat before the start, organisers give all riders two warm up laps, a spectacle that can catch out the unwary spectator!

Race Preview

With a mix of both young and old, stalwarts and hotshots, the 2013 MCE British Superbike grid sets the scene for one of the most competitive seasons to date.

‘Shakey’ goes into his local circuit with a known package in his 2012 title winning Kawasaki ZX10R and is fired up for a record breaking fourth BSB title. With the exact same ‘quartet’ aspirations, Ryuichi Kiyonari returns to Britain and the Louth based Samsung Honda squad.

Pre-season testing has shown 21 year old Alex Lowes and his Samsung Honda as the package to beat but the likes of former series runners-up Milwaukee Yamaha’s James Ellison and Tyco Suzuki’s Josh Brookes will no doubt be at the sharp end come race day. Australian Superbike Champion Josh Waters makes his BSB debut and as Ellison’s teammate, he gives the Milwaukee squad a potent line-up. Equally exciting will be the battle of the young rookies with New York’s PJ Jacobsen (Tyco Suzuki) and Shakey’s teammate Keith Farmer eager to impress from the outset.

Last year’s rain affected opening round saw a mix of wet weather and spilt fuel force the postponement of the second Superbike race however in the opening race of the year it was Samsung Honda’s Jon Kirkham who stole victory from Alastair Seeley on the final corner, the latter setting the fastest lap of the race on lap 24. Consequentially last year’s race results may not be the best guide to form for this season’s eagerly awaited opening fixture.

Pirelli View

Pirelli Racing Manager Jason Griffiths commented, “The recent series of official tests provided dry circuit time but with consistently low track temperatures at all the venues. This gave us the opportunity to test the performance of the new SC1 rear compounds in both the Superbike & Supersport classes. We’re very pleased with the results which proved that the performance of the new rears remained very consistent and demonstrated their strong resistance to ‘cold tearing’. This weekend’s opening round on the Indy circuit at Brands Hatch provides a particular challenge for the tyres in terms of only two left hand corners featuring in the layout. The early Spring ambient temperatures will be a major factor in determining tyre temperature as the left side of the tyre will certainly benefit from some heating of the asphalt. The performance of the new Diablo Supercorsa SC tyres present in the Superstock classes for the first time will be of particular interest and we’ll be very interested in the riders’ feedback. Brands Hatch Indy will no doubt, as always, produce fantastic racing.”

View from behind the screen

Reigning British Superbike Champion Shane Byrne of Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki was born and bred just minutes from the Kent circuit. He explains his view of the shorter Indy layout, “I love Brands Hatch as it’s my local circuit and gives great support.  The short Indy circuit doesn’t let anyone get a break really so circuit knowledge is almost irrelevant. It’s all right, right, right so you have to be so careful at Graham Hill Bend as the main sharp left. Loads of guys get caught out there as the left hand side of the tyre never builds up too much heat. In terms of overtaking the key areas to watch are at the end of the straight into Paddock Hill Bend and up to the hairpin at Druids.”

MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship, Brands Hatch GP

2012 Flashback:

Race one result:

Jon Kirkham (Samsung Honda)

Alastair Seeley (Tyco Suzuki) +0.136s

Michael Rutter (MSS Bathams Kawasaki) +0.750s

Ian Lowry (Padgetts Honda) +3.023s

Gary Mason (Quattro Plant Kawasaki) +5.191s

Tommy Bridewell (Supersonic BMW) +6.155s

Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) +6.284s

James Westmoreland (WFR Honda) +8.813s

Freddy Foray (Quattro Plant Kawasaki) +9.145s

Josh Brookes (Tyco Suzuki) +9.411s