Pirelli to be the Event Main Sponsor for the eni FIM Superbike World Championship Malaysian round and presents the tires that will be on track at the Sepang International Circuit
Initiative confirms Pirelli’s strong involvement in the derived series championship and interest in growing Asian markets; a new full wet tire will be available for all riders that could play a key role at the demanding Asian track
Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), May 30, 2014 – Pirelli will be the Event Main Sponsor for the next eni FIM Superbike World Championship round to be held in Malaysia at the Sepang International Circuit on June 8. The official name of this sixth round will therefore be Pirelli Malaysian Round.
Pirelli Moto Racing Director, Giorgio Barbier, commented: "Asia, particularly the Southeast, is for sure the largest two-wheeled market in the world. In particular, in recent years the segment of high displacement machines is having very strong growth and all the major motorcycle manufacturers now have production factories on site. We are also going to start our production of motorcycle tires in Indonesia starting from 2015 and so to become the Event Main Sponsor of this Superbike World Championship round seemed like a great opportunity for visibility in an area of the world, which has recently attracted the strong interest of all motorcycle manufacturers because it is a ‘fertile soil’ and rich in motorcycle enthusiasts".
For the Superbike World Championship it will not be a debut in Malaysia but rather a return after twenty years. Although not taking place at the Sepang circuit, the derived series circus had already arrived in this country in the early 90’s for four consecutive seasons – in Shah Alam (1990-1) and Johor Circuit (1992-3).
The Sepang International Circuit was built in 1999 just a short distance from the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur, in the Sepang district of the state of Selangor.
Like many other circuits, it has been designed by German architect Hermann Tilke and is considered one of the most efficient and technological tracks since its inauguration, even if, after fifteen years, it has never undergone renovation work, thus presenting a rather bumpy asphalt.
At this moment Pirelli arrives with standard solutions dedicated to Superbike and Supersport classes and some development tires, including a new rear full wet tire developed for the peculiarities of the Malaysian circuit.
For teams and riders this will be a very important round just before the Misano Adriatico race which will mark the start of the second half of the season. After the showdown of the Kawasaki Racing Team and Tom Sykes, who in the last round at Donington Park made a splendid double achieving the leadership of both the riders and the manufacturers championships, the Championship would seem to lead to a four-way battle. A fight between Sykes, team-mate Loris Baz, Jonathan Rea and Sylvain Guintoli; while contending for the manufacturers' championship are Aprilia, Honda and the Akashi based company.
Sepang International Circuit VS tires: high temperatures and humidity can play a key role
The Sepang International Circuit is a 5548 meters long track and is characterized by some important corners and by two very long straights. The maximum speeds reached on the first straight, which is 920 meters long, are interrupted by a slow curve that connects the first to the second straight, favoring overtaking maneuvers.
Being a very varied circuit the tire choice is not immediate. In the slowest part there are sections where it is necessary to ensure good agility, the approach with a soft front tire could improve the accuracy of the entrance into the ‘lean’ and make it easier to keep up trajectory. In addition, being present along the track some disconnected bumpy points where the generation of vibration is common, the use of a soft front facilitates the cushioning of the existing bumps.
At the same time, to ensure good braking and avoid the ‘squashing’ phenomena at the end of the straights, it is recommended that the use of a stiffer front tire to be able to maintain its compactness also at high levels of longitudinal load.
As in many other circuits where both choices are potentially usable, the weather conditions will have the last word. Based on the weather conditions of the past years in the period of June and in the area where the circuit lays, it can be easy to assume that the temperatures will be quite high (historically there have been about 60°C and more than 70% of relative humidity) and that the choices of the riders will go more in the direction of a rigid front tire, as the movements while crushing are most emphasized by these conditions.
The choice of the rear should instead follow as a rule the main search for grip. Both the very smooth asphalt and the high temperatures allow the use of soft tires, able to properly penetrate into the road surface and thus ensure maximum footprint. In some points of the track, in fact, the machine must be as stable as possible and planted onto the ground, to prevent the breakdown of the rear in acceleration.
The enemy of the rear tire will be the very high temperatures of the compound that are reached in the central zone of the profile on both straights. In the past, rear tires subjected to large thermal stress phenomena have given rise to blisters. This phenomenon is even more pronounced on wet tires, which are very soft and deformable by definition. Just to improve the resistance to blistering, Pirelli has developed a dedicated rear full wet product suitably equipped with a rigid central band.
The Pirelli solutions for Superbike and Supersport classes:
Pirelli arrives to the only Asian round of the Superbike season by providing Superbike and Supersport riders with a total of 3456 tires, with 2079 of those intended for the premier class and1377 for Supersport.
In Superbike each rider can count, for the entire race weekend, on a package of 74 tires, 36 front and 38 rear, with 3 different solutions at the front and 3 at the rear.
At the front riders can rely on the already known and widely used standard SC1 and SC2 as well as on a third option, the R753, a development solution featuring a medium hardness compound as an alternative to the standard SC2 and which has already been brought last year to Phillip Island, Monza, Portimão, Imola, Istanbul and Moscow and this year to Phillip Island. This is a very sturdy tire that stands up well to severe asphalt and that in Sepang could be very much appreciated.
There will be three slick solutions to choose from for the rear and available to all riders. In fact, Sepang being a new round in the WSBK calendar, Pirelli has decided not to bring dedicated solutions developed for the EVO class and for Superbike but to focus on products that can put all the riders in the best conditions to run on a challenging track as the Malaysian one.
Available for all the riders there will therefore be the two standard tires already present in the previous rounds, ie the SC0, soft solution ideal to face smooth asphalt and high temperatures, and the SC1, in medium compound that is positioned midway between the hard and the soft solutions offering the best performance when temperatures are not particularly high. As a third and final option is the development solution S1665, in medium-soft compound and so far only present at Phillip Island. The latter tire, compared to the standard SC1, differs in structure and materials.
In the FIM Supersport World Championship, there is 26 front and 25 rear for a total of 51 tires per rider. Standard SC1 and SC2 for the front, standard SC0 and SC1 rear solutions are provided.
In addition to the slick DIABLO™ Superbike for the premier class and to the DIABLO™ Supercorsa for the Supersport, all riders will have notched intermediate DIABLO™ Wet tires and full wet DIABLO™ Rain. Especially for this event the riders can choose between two full wet rear solutions since in addition to standard DIABLO™ Rain Pirelli will bring on track the new development solution R0214 designed with a central band in reinforced compound and more resistant to deal with the Sepang circuit, where the asphalt tends to dry out very quickly.