Confirmation and satisfaction for Pirelli in the third round of the eni FIM World Superbike Championship; Guintoli and Rea win one each under the unpredictable skies of Assen
Thanks in part to the increasingly high performance of Pirelli tires, Loris Baz takes Superpole, improving on Tom Sykes' time from last year by 7 tenths of a second
Assen (The Netherlands), April 28, 2014 – The third round at the Assen circuit yesterday was strongly impacted by unpredictable weather, which had a dry Superbike Race 1 and Supersport race, whereas Race 2 and the Superstock 600 and Superstock 1000 were wet races. This weekend nearly all the solutions Pirelli provided for the riders were put to use, including the wet tires.
For Superbike the weekend started off with Saturday's Superpole where, thanks in part to the progress made with the new Pirelli DIABLO™ Superbike tires, Loris Baz lapped at 1'34.357 to take pole position with a time 7 tenths of a second better than the one Tom Sykes put on the boards last year, when he took pole position with a time of 1'35.043.
On Sunday, Race 1 was held in the dry and won by Frenchman Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team) with Englishmen Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) and Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike Team) crossing the line behind him. Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team), who had taken pole position on Saturday, was unable to do better than fourth place in the race. As was the case at Aragón, in the dry basically all the riders on the first three rows opted for the new S1699 development solution on the front and for the tire which was custom made specifically and solely for the Superbike riders. Race 2, after being reduced to 15 laps due to the impending rain during the sighting lap, was held in a heavy downpour for only 3 laps before being called due to the driving rain. About an hour later the race was reduced to 10 laps for the third and final start. All the riders used the grooved DIABLO™ Rain wet tire for the first time this year, a tire in 100% silica that maximizes the safety feeling on the front, providing wet grip in extreme situations of maximum leaning, violent braking and initial acceleration. The first rider under the chequered flag was Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike Team), followed by Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) and Italian Davide Giugliano (Ducati Superbike Team).
The FIM World Supersport Championship had a dry race with local hero Michael Vd Mark (Pata Honda World Supersport) proving himself and winning the race on grooved DIABLO™ Supercorsa standard SC1 tires as well as putting in the fast lap and breaking the track record. Florian Marino (Kawasaki Intermoto Ponyexpres) crossed the line behind him to become the new leader in the overall standings, followed by Jules Cluzel (MV Agusta RC-Yakhnich Motorsport).
In Superstock 1000 the race was shortened to 10 laps due to the rain, with Kevin Valk (MTM Racing Team) winning on his Kawasaki ZX-10R, second place for Ondrej Jezek (Barni Racing Team) and the bottom step of the podium for Matthieu Lussiana (Team Garnier by Aspi).
It was a rainy race on Saturday for the Superstock 600 FIM European Championship riders, with a forced tire choice of DIABLO™ Rains for everyone. First across the finish line after 13 laps and starting from the tenth spot on the grid was Finn Niki Tuuli astride his Yamaha YZF R6 for the Kallio Racing team, now also leading the overall Championship standings. Finishing behind him were Italian Kevin Manfredi (Agro-on wil Racedays) who also took the fast lap at 1’59.22 and Wayne Tessels (Waynes Racing Team) who had to settle for the last step of the podium in his home race.
Comment from Giorgio Barbier, Pirelli Moto Racing Director:
“This was a demanding weekend for everyone because of the weather which made race management more than a bit complicated. In any case, we are quite satisfied with our work because the unpredictable weather gave us the opportunity to see basically the full complement of tires we brought to Assen in action, including the wet tires. The time set by Loris Baz to win Superpole on Saturday is quite interesting – confirmation that the constant development of our tires year after year can lead to some significant results. My compliments obviously to Sylvain Guintoli for his win in Race 1 and Jonathan Rea who once again has proven his skill in the wet. Kervin Bos also did a great job as wild card finishing in 11th place in Race 2. Our goal here was to obtain confirmation on the quality of the solutions we introduced at Aragón. The weather didn't help us in this respect but in any case we were able to gather some encouraging information from Race 1 and the Supersport race. Now all that's left is to hope for better weather during the next round at Imola, but in the meantime we are enjoying the third consecutive Bol d'Or win today with the Kawasaki SRC team”.
The Pirelli solutions chosen by the riders:
At Assen, partly due to the unpredictable weather, all the solutions Pirelli brought for this round saw action.
Nevertheless in Race 1 of Superbike on the front most of the riders in both Superbike and EVO opted (for the second round in a row) for the SC1 development solution (S1699), considered more precise and better performing than the standard SC1.
For the rear the Superbike riders almost all chose the SC1 development solution (S1185), which was already quite popular during the Spanish round and the EVO riders provided excellent confirmation of the tire dedicated exclusively to this class, the SC0 development R1120, with the remainder of the riders casting a split vote between the standard SC0 and SC1.
In Race 2 all the riders chose DIABLO™ Rain wet tires for both the front and rear due to the driving rain.
In Supersport the riders confirmed their preference for the SC1 standard, as they had already done at Aragón, making it the unanimous race choice.
On the rear the SC1 development solution (S624) was also confirmed, chosen by about 80% of the riders on the grid as it had been in the Spanish round as well.
These are quite significant indications for Pirelli because they show how the two solutions adapt quite well to very different temperatures and tracks.
Pirelli Best Lap Award:
The Pirelli Best Lap Awards, the prizes that are assigned to the riders with the fast laps in the Superbike and Supersport races, were presented in the Paddock Show during the press conference that follows the podiums at the end of the race day.
The Superbike and Supersport rider who has 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.
These are the riders who won the Pirelli Best Lap Awards at the TT Circuit Assen:
WSB Race 1 – Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team), 1'36.440 (3rd lap)
WSB Race 2 – Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki), 1'52.975 (9th lap)
WSS – Michael Vd Mark (Pata Honda World Supersport Team), 1’38.587 (7th lap)
The overall standings after the first three rounds are as follows:
WSB: Chaz Davies (Ducati Superbike Team): 2; Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team): 2; Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team): 1; Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki): 1
WSS: Jules Cluzel (MV Agusta RC-Yakhnich Motorsport): 1; Roberto Tamburini (San Carlo Puccetti Racing): 1; Michael Vd Mark (Pata Honda World Supersport Team): 1
The 2014 Pirelli statistics for the TT Circuit Assen round:
• Total number of tires Pirelli brought: 4619
• Number of solutions (dry, intermediate and wet) for the Superbike class: 5 front and 7 rear
• Number of tires available for each Superbike rider: 35 front and 41 rear
• Number of solutions for the Supersport class (dry, intermediate and wet): 4 front and 5 rear
• Number of tires available for each Supersport rider: 23 front and 28 rear
• Temperature in Race 1: air 15° C, asphalt 14° C
• Temperature in Race 2: air 17° C, asphalt 16° C
• Maximum race speed reached by Pirelli DIABLO™ Superbike tires: 291.7 kms/h, in Race 1 by Eugene Laverty (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) at 7th lap
• Maximum race speed reached by Pirelli DIABLO™ Supercorsa tires in Supersport: 255.7 kms/h, Lorenzo Zanetti (Pata Honda World Supersport Team) at 11th lap.
More, from a press release issued by Team Bimota Alstare:
WEATHER DISRUPTS TEAM BIMOTA ALSTARE’S PROGRESS
The weather played a significant part in today’s two races of the 2014 World Superbike Championship at Assen today. The first race took part in dull, overcast conditions, with some damppatches on the track after rain early this morning. Seventeen laps were completed before a red flag curtailed proceedings after a bike suffered a technical problem.
Team Bimota Alstare riders Ayrton Badovini and Christian Iddon had qualified 14th and 16th, but were soon chasing a top ten place after eight laps. There were a few damp patches on the 4.542 kilometre circuit and Christian found one on lap 9. He crashed spectacularly, but fortunately escaped without injury. Ayrton continued his fight to the top ten, and was hunting down the leader of the EVO class, Nicolo Canepa, when the race was stopped.
Race two started, then was red-flagged because of the torrential rain and then followed a lengthy gap before it began again - albeit at a shorter distance of 1O laps. The long delay meant that Christian’s BB3 could make the start, so both Bimota Alstare riders were able to take to the new grid. Conditions were treacherous and, on the opening lap, Ayrton fell victim of the soaking track and crashed out. Although Christian’s BB3 had been repaired, the team didn’t have enough time to put everything back on in time and so he was forced to start without a quick shifter or traction control. It was his first wet race on a Superbike, so he took things steadily, ending 12th, after ten soaking wet laps.
Ayrton Badovini: Race 1 (11th overall, 2nd EVO class), Race 2 DNF
“I am pretty happy with my first race. At the beginning, I decided to conserve my tyres and start pushing harder about half distance. As the race wore on, I began to reel in Nicolo (Canepa) - the first rider in the EVO class. My BB3 was working better than yesterday and my strategy was working well, but then race was red-flagged with five laps left and I ended behind Nicolo.
I honestly don’t know what happened in race 2. The track was soaking wet, but I usually go well in these conditions. I had been either fastest or second fastest in today’s wet warm-up, so was quite looking forward to a wet race. One moment I was on the bike and the next moment I was on the floor! Fortunately the bike was not badly damaged and I didn't suffer any injuries either.”
Christian Iddon: Race 1 DNF, Race 2 (12th overall, 3rd EVO class)
“Race 1 was going really well and I was happy how things were working out. I was in the group chasing Canepa and was looking forward to the later stage of the race and seeing if I could catch him or not. All my plans went out of the window when I hit a bit of a damp patch on the track and crashed. Strangely enough, the place where I crashed was not a place where I had been pushing hard, so I guess you can say that perhaps it was a small mistake on my part.
The team then did amazingly well to rebuild the bike in a very short time. The red flag and subsequent delay meant that I was able to make the grid, but my bike was missing a couple of things, so I chose to ride steadily, get some experience of a Superbike in the wet and just finish. It was a race of attrition, so I was relieved to cross the line after 10 difficult laps. This weekend has been a great learning curve and I now have a lot more experience and knowledge of a Superbike under my belt. I’m looking forward to the next round, learning some more and finishing higher up the standings.”
Francis Batta (Team Manager)
“Conditions were very difficult today. We suffered two crashes, but fortunately neither Ayrton nor Christian were hurt - and that is the main thing. The team did a fantastic job rebuilding Christian’s bike in such a short time and he was able to start the second race. Of course, we would’ve all preferred dry conditions today, but this is Assen and rain is no stranger here. We’ve learnt a lot this weekend and our knowledge of this new bike is increasing very steadily and so I don’t think it will be too long before we are the top EVO bike. This is our goal and we will do everything we can to achieve it.”