Pirelli visits the “Cathedral of Speed” with a new SC3 slick front and a totally redesigned rain rear tyre for the WorldSBK class
The MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship stops in The Netherlands, at Assen, for the fourth round of the season as Pirelli continues its development work aimed at further improving its current ‘range’ solutions
From the Spanish circuit of Motorland Aragón, Pirelli and the circus of the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship set course for round four at Assen, in The Netherlands.
Both for the WorldSBK and WorldSSP classes, Pirelli confirm the solutions already seen in action in Spain with the addition of two new tyres for the premier class. At the front, among the different slick solutions available to them, the Superbike riders will also be able to count on the new development SC3 X0120 which is proposed as the evolution of the standard SC3 with the declared aim of improving its mechanical strength, a feature which is fundamental on circuits such as Assen which put a strain on the front tyres. In case of rain, in addition to the standard wet tyres, the WorldSBK class will be also able to count on a new rear rain tyre redesigned in terms of tread pattern, profiles and compound and developed in particular to deal with rain combined with low temperatures.
The TT Circuit Assen was designed in particular to be used by motorcycles and is historically considered one of the most difficult circuits in the world, which is why it has earned the nickname of “Cathedral of Speed” due to its extremely fast average speeds. This is a historical track, which hosts the production derived series since 1992. In fact, with the changes made in recent years, the circuit has lost a bit of the charm and fame that have made it known to the general public but it still remains a track that puts machines, riders and tyres to a hard test. The circuit was built in 1925 and for 30 years hosted road races through the towns around Assen. At the time the track was about 28 km long, the modern circuit was not built until 1955, no longer open to daily traffic, and the total length was reduced to 7.705 m. The most recent significant change was made in 2006, entirely eliminating the first part of the circuit, a very fast and particular section for a modern track, which reduced the length by almost 1,500 metres. In its place new stands were built, higher capacity than the previous ones, overlooking the new group of first slow turns. Today, after the many changes made over the years, the track is 4,552 metres long with the longest straight stretch measuring 970 metres, with 11 left hand turns and 6 right-handers.
The layout of the track is characterized by a sequence of long corners at constant speed, slow U-shaped curves under braking and sudden acceleration zones, fast chicanes and long curves with strong acceleration at the exit with the bike still in leaning over. It is therefore a very varied track in which the choice of tyres by the teams takes on strategic importance.
With a high bituminous percentage, the asphalt of the circuit has a strong correlation between how aggressive the track is and the external temperature. As a result, with low temperatures, the rear solutions can suffer from problems with tearing, in particular in case of soft solutions and when the track is still poorly rubberised, typically during the Friday sessions.
The solutions for the WorldSBK and WorldSSP classes
Pirelli brings a total of 4099 tyres to Assen to meet the needs of all four classes involved in the World Championship. As always, in addition to tyres for dry, riders of all classes in case of bad weather will be able to count on rain tyres.
In the WorldSBK category, riders will have seven tyres solution for dry available, four front and three rear.
At the front there are three solutions in the medium compound already used in Aragón and a new solution in hard compound. Among the solutions in the medium compound the development SC1 V0952 is definitely the best known, it has already been used by riders in 2017 in Aragón, Assen, Imola, Donington, Misano, Laguna Seca, Lausitzring, Portimão, Magny-Cours, Jerez and Losail and this year in the first three rounds. This option uses the same compound of the standard SC1 but has different structural solutions and is the most used front solution this year. The other two medium compound solutions were introduced by Pirelli this year to Aragón: the W1084 was tested in the winter tests and uses an even softer compound than the standard SC1 that is well suited to the harsher climates that can be found in the first European rounds, while the W0494 is also a recent development of the standard SC1 with respect to which it uses a different construction process.
The absolute novelty to the front is the new X0120, a development solution that is proposed as an evolution of the standard SC3 in order to improve the mechanical resistance which is necessary in particular on circuits like Assen which put a strain on the front tyres.
As for the rear, the riders will have at their disposal the same solutions already shown on the scene last weekend at Aragón. The W1050 is the only solution in soft compound that guarantees better top performance than other solutions, but with a higher level of wear. For this reason it must be used only in case the weather conditions allow it. Compared to the standard SC0 it is generally more suitable for cold temperatures.
Alternatively, there will be the standard SC1 or the development SC1 X0140designed to offer a high level of performance and limited wear.
In addition to the new development SC3 front tyre, the most important factor for the WorldSBK class is the new development rain rear tyre, the V0520 solution, which joins the standard one. Compared to the latter the new tyre offers better performance especially in the case of rain at low temperatures.
In the WorldSSP class, riders will be able to rely on the same solutions already brought from Pirelli to Aragón, a total of five solutions for dry, three front and two rear.
At the front the standard SC1 and SC2 are flanked by the soft development solution X0012 introduced at Aragón and that improves handling and performance. This option is positioned halfway between the SC1 and the SC2, trying to maintain the grip of the SC1 and the handling of the SC2.
For the rear, apart from the standard SC1, the development SC1 X0093 will be also present as an alternative. Introduced to Aragón and designed to offer a high consistency of performance and limited wear, this latter option could be the race solution in case of low temperatures.
The 2017 Pirelli statistics for TT Circuit Assen
• Total number of tyres brought by Pirelli: 4829
• Number of solutions (including dry, intermediate and wet) for the Superbike class: 7 front and 7 rear
• Number of tyres available for each Superbike rider: 44 front and 38 rear
• Number of solutions for the Supersport class (including dry, intermediate and wet): 4 front and 5 rear
• Number of tyres available for each Supersport rider: 20 front and 25 rear
• Superbike Best Lap Awards both won by: Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team),in 1’34.880 (Race 1, 3rd lap) and in 1’35.579 (Race 2, 6th lap)
• Supersport Best Lap Award won by: Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing), in 1’39.057(3rd lap)
• Temperature in Race 1: air 10° C, asphalt 19° C
• Temperature in Race 2: air 16° C, asphalt 27° C
• Maximum race speed reached by Pirelli DIABLO™ Superbike tyres: 294.8 km/h, in Race 2 by Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) at the 2nd lap.
• Maximum race speed reached by Pirelli DIABLO™ Supercorsa SC tyres in Supersport race: 258.9 km/h, by Sheridan Morais (Kallio Racing) at 15th lap.