Monday, May 7


The high-speed nature of the Monza circuit causes headaches for sole Superbike World Championship tyre supplier Pirelli.  With its headquarters just a few kilometres away, Pirelli always wants to provide safe racing at the historic Italian circuit but the demands of 165 kg, 1000cc Superikes clocking in excess of 330 km/h are collosal.

"This track is historically probative for tyres: the extreme length of the straight stretches, the sustained high speeds and the violent braking zones stress the central part of the tyre section in a way that no other track in the World Superbike Championship does,” Giorgio Barbier, Pirelli Racing Director, says.

“Basically, the thermal energy developed and null lean angle, both in acceleration and in braking, is about five times more than that developed at Assen.  And then there is the thermal stress on the right shoulder where, especially on the Biassono curve, the tyre stays leaned over for a long time at high speeds in acceleration, reaching thermal energy values on the shoulder that approach the record values of Phillip Island.  For this reason we decided to bring four solutions for the rear for the riders to choose from: an SC0 and an SC1 with an oversized 200 profile like the ones already seen during the Australian round.  The third solution is also SC1 and last, but not least, the fourth solution is an SC2, both of which are in the standard size.  The SC0 and the two SC1 solutions have a reinforced central section which uses an SC2 compound, precisely for the reasons described above.” Barbier added.

For a visual of the torture Superbike tyres are subjected to at Monza, click on:


However, rather than the dry conditions the Superbike usually enjoy at Monza, rain affected both the Superpole qualifying sessions, and both races.

“The weekend at Monza was most certainly conditioned from Saturday by weather conditions which were extremely unstable, with nice weather suddenly alternating with rain and at times even with hail.  As for Superbike, first and foremost I would like to make an important note on Saturday’s Superpole: Pirelli consistently recommended that the teams and riders use the intermediate tyres which were available to them.  Clearly the reason for this was the fact that the track was completely dry in places, while in others it was wet due to the trees along the track which kept the asphalt from drying.

“This advice, however, was completely ignored since all of the riders used rain tyres.  The rain tyres run well at 50°- 60°C, but on the two consecutive straight stretches, which were completely dry, they obviously reached temperatures well above 200°C.  This caused a meltdown of the compound in the centre.  I would also like to reassure everyone on this point that Pirelli tyres have a particular structure with a steel belt, and therefore it is absolutely impossible for them to explode.  That said, on Sunday the riders in the Superstock classes raced as scheduled, in conditions which were even worse than those during the Superbike races, using the rain tyres on the front and the intermediate or race tyres on the rear,” Barbier stressed.

“In Supersport, as further proof that the Pirelli rain tyres can most definitely sustain an entire race without any problems, the riders raced and finished on rain tyres.  So it was a shame that, although the Superbike riders had two intermediate solutions available to them for the rear, they expected only to use the racing slicks.  Once the race began, in any case, it was clear that even in those conditions a good race could be run."