Donington Park sees the introduction of a new Pirelli tire for Superpole for the riders of the eni FIM Superbike World Championship
The paddock of the production based motorcycle series arrives at the English track with two British riders, Rea and Sykes, leading the championship separated by only 4 points; different solutions for Superbike and EVO riders are confirmed by Pirelli with an eye to mixed weather
Donington Park (Great Britain), May 19, 2014 – Next weekend Donington Park, Great Britain, will host the eni FIM Superbike World Championship and Pirelli for the twenty-first time.
The Championship arrives to the fifth round with two British riders, Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes, on top of the overall standings with 139 and 135 points respectively, while Kawasaki is leading the Manufacturers Championship with 4 points advantage over Honda.
The British event will only host the Superbike and Supersport classes plus the European Junior Cup, the ‘Stock’ categories will be back on June 22 at Misano Adriatico circuit.
As for the tires, Pirelli proposes a new supersoft qualifier tire which should ensure a high level of grip, permitting as always, a maximum of two laps looking for the best time to gain the pole position.
The front and rear race solutions, which have already seen action in the last rounds, are confirmed, EVO riders will also have back as a dedicated solution the R1120. Compared to the R1368 they had available at Imola and despite still being a soft compound, is more protected in case of lower temperatures and therefore more suitable to be used on a circuit such as Donington Park where high temperatures are unlikely.
Donington Park VS tires: the weather unknown
The Donington Park circuit was built in 1931 and it is 4,023 metres long with 7 right-hand turns and 5 left-handers, running clockwise.
From a meteorological and temperature point of view there is always a question mark: you can find both spring conditions with pleasant temperatures that allow the use of soft compounds like the SC0 as well as cold and even rainy days where you are forced to use intermediate or full wet tires rather than slick tires more protected to prevent excessive wear and cold tear.
The races are often held in the rain which makes the asphalt slick and slippery and that increases the riders' efforts, at the same time highlighting their wet riding skills.
The Donington Park circuit is a mixed type of track made up of fast lines with various uphills and downhills (i.e. Hollywood) and partly of slow turns with short straights in between which require sharp braking and acceleration such as the Melbourne Hairpin (turn 10). Then, on the straight stretch coming out of the Coppice (turn 8) the highest acceleration coming out of a turn is reached.
The most interesting elements of the circuit are the two medium turns that break up the straight opposite the finish (Old Hairpin and McLeans Corner) because they are at the same time sharp like a chicane but fast like a long turn, with the bikes never dropping below 100 kph.
Compared to other tracks, Donington Park is a circuit where very fast speeds are not reached and even because of the typical local weather conditions, this translates into an extremely cold operating temperature for the tires: in fact, the surface temperature oscillates from a maximum of 110°C to an extremely low minimum of 50°C. Despite the fact that the operating temperature will be the same as normal street use, the tires must bring out their maximum flexibility: in the first part of the circuit great stability is required for the front end and the front tire must be hold its shape as much as possible to guarantee the support needed to manage downhill turns; while the rear tire is affected mainly by the sharp and violent acceleration phases which are typical of the track, especially coming out of Coppice. In cold weather conditions the tread compound, especially the softer ones, struggles to reach proper operating temperatures and, because of the high rigidity properties, risks suffering lacerations and surface tears in acceleration. In these cases it is advisable to use more mechanically robust solutions on the rear. Wear from tearing tends to decrease greatly with high temperatures but in these conditions the track generally provides very poor grip.
The Pirelli solutions for Superbike and Supersport classes:
Pirelli brings to Great Britain for the fifth round of the eni FIM Superbike World Championship a total of 3634 tires that will cover the needs of the Superbike and Supersport classes riders and of those of the European Junior Cup. Among this amount 2044 are the tires dedicated to the premier class, 1410 those for the WSS and 180 those for the European Junior Cup.
In Superbike riders have at their disposal for each round the DIABLO™ Superbike slick tires and carved full wet DIABLO™ Rain and intermediate DIABLO™ Wet. Each rider for the entire race weekend can count on a package of 70 tires, 35 front and 35 rear, with 3 different solutions at the front and 3 at the rear.
At the front the riders will have available the solutions already known and appreciated, which are the standard SC1 and SC2 and the development SC1 S1699 tire, which in the last three rounds was the most used by the riders lined up on the grid because it offers more support in the approach to the curves in favor of a better steering precision.
In total there are 4 solutions at the rear, two in common to all the riders and the third is a different one for EVO and Superbike riders. Available to all riders are the two standard products already present in the previous rounds: the SC0, a soft solution ideal to deal with smooth asphalt and high temperatures and the SC1 in medium compound, which is positioned midway between the soft and the hard solutions, offering the best performance when temperatures are not particularly high.
The development SC1 S1185 is confirmed as the tire for the Superbike riders only, since it has been already widely used at Assen and Aragón as an alternative to the standard SC1, which comparatively ensures more even wear and better performance. At Donington, this could prove to be a choice on which to focus.
After the interlude of Imola, the development SC0 R1120 solution is back as a tire only for EVO riders. It has already been seen in action at Assen and Aragón as an alternative to the standard SC0 that can offer a greater resistance to wear. Compared to the R1368 which was present at Imola, the R1120 can also be used if the temperature is not particularly high, so for this reason it will be at Donington.
The new qualifier tire in supersoft compound T0223 will make its debut, which will allow riders to do 1-2 laps at maximum performance looking for the best time to qualify, thanks to the excellent level of grip that this tire is able to offer.
In Supersport there are carved DIABLO™ Supercorsa SC tires, intermediate DIABLO™ Wet and full wet DIABLO™ Rain tires. 23 front and 24 rear for a total of 47 tires per rider. Standard SC1 and SC2 at the front, while for the rear standard SC1 and development S0624, an alternative to the standard SC1 already seen in action at Aragón, Assen and Imola.
The European Junior Cup will use as usual standard DIABLO™ Supercorsa SC1 at the front and SC2 at the rear.
The 2013 Pirelli statistics for Donington Park:
Total number of tires Pirelli brought: 3768
Number of solutions (dry, intermediate and wet) for the Superbike class: 5 front and 7 rear
Number of solutions for the Supersport class (dry, intermediate and wet): 4 front and 5 rear
Number of tires available for each Superbike rider: 36 front and 40 rear
Number of tires available for each Supersport rider: 25 front and 27 rear
Superbike Best Lap Awards won by: Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike), 1'28.469 (Race 1, 3rd lap) and Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team), 1'28.074 (Race 2, 4th lap)
Supersport Best Lap Award won by: Sam Lowes (Yakhnich Motorsport), 1’30.927 (4th lap)
Temperature in Race 1: air 15° C, asphalt 26° C
Temperature in Race 2: air 17° C, asphalt 40° C
Maximum race speed reached by Pirelli DIABLO™ Superbike tires: 271,6 km/h, Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing Team) in Race 1 at 3rd lap and Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK) at 15th lap.
Maximum race speed reached by Pirelli DIABLO™ Supercorsa SC tires in Supersport race:246,2 km/h, Lorenzo Zanetti (Pata Honda World Supersport) at 2nd lap.