Tyre strategies are an ever-important part of WorldSBK and the SCX might come into play for the two longer races at Estoril…
The 2021 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship campaign is only in its second round but already a key theme is playing out: the importance of tyres. At the Circuito Estoril, with consistent weather conditions expecting across the Gaerne Estoril Round, the key question appears to be whether Pirelli’s SCX tyre will be able to be used in both Race 1 and Race 2.
In the 2020 Estoril Round, only one rider used the SCX tyre across both Races 1 and 2 with Loris Baz attempting to make use of it, with the Frenchman finishing ninth in Race 1 and not finishing Race 2. No rider used the SCX in last year’s Tissot Superpole Race with the SC0 tyre providing to be the favoured choice of the grid.
During Free Practice 2, Giorgio Barbier (Pirelli’s Moto Racing Director) explained why he believes the SCX tyre could be used throughout the 2021 Aragon Round. He said: “Last year, the SCX worked well everywhere but not here in Estoril. At this track, last year we found a really bad surface because of historical car racing and there is also a lot of dust and we never cleaned it up. The temperatures were very low compared to now. In the morning, the track was really better. The temperatures are now close to 50 degrees and the SCX is coming back. Scott just finished a 19-lap simulation with a very good result. All the others are working on SCX and I expect they will use, for sure, in the Superpole Race but probably even a long one.”
After Friday’s action, Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) spoke about the possibility of using the SCX tyre through the longer Race 1 and Race 2 events. He said: “This option to use the SCX tyre compared to the SC0 is quite close at some tracks. In Aragon, it was close for me. I did the test back-to-back with tyres. To be honest, the lap time in the race simulation was quite similar but I felt the character of the SC0 was better especially at the end of the race when I need something to fight with. I did a full laps of the race on the tyre, not in one go, with the SC0 and I felt really strong at the end; I felt stronger at the end than I did at the start so we just need to get the thing stopped.”
Rinaldi used the SCX tyre to great effect at the 2020 Teruel Round to claim his first maiden WorldSBK victory in Race 1, and also explained the possibilities of the SCX tyre. He said: “Last year, nobody used the SCX. Some guys today have tried it so in the afternoon we decided to try it because the SCX tyre is a tyre that more or less working well for me but like the other riders last year it didn’t work. We gave it a try and it looks like the SCX tyre works. We will check in the data and try again to understand whether it can finish the race and if it can finish the race, we will use that tyre.”
Opinions seem to be divided across the grid about whether the SCX tyre can be used in both Race 1 and Race 2 at the Circiuto Estoril. A combination of last year’s data and this year’s weather conditions plus a different time of the year for this year’s race, the strategies available this year could spice up the show yet again.
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