Pirelli’s Motorsport Director spoke about rear tyre development in the next part of the season as well an array of other topics
The 2022 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship is getting ready for round three of the season at the Circuito Estoril and another thrilling round is in prospect. Ahead of the round, we sat down with Pirelli’s Motorsport Director Giorgio Barbier, to talk about a range of topics. He sheds light on the SC1 A0843 development tyre that debuted last time out at Assen, the process of the development based on huge amounts of feedback, how it helps various manufacturers, the all-new for 2022 SCQ tyre and whether or not asymmetric tyres would ever come to WorldSBK.
DEBUT TYRE: feedback of the new SC1 A0843, rear tyre development to come
Debuting at Assen, Barbier spoke of the SC1 A0843 development front: “This was brought for Barcelona, because it’s one of the hardest circuits for front tyre wear. Assen, with low temperatures, especially in the morning, could create problems on the front tyre. So, that’s why we brought it; the Barcelona test gave us good information about the resilience of these front tyres. The result was good, and the riders liked the tyre, especially for the support they got entering the corners. We’ll bring this solution again in other races to face front wear at places like Most in July. In the next part of the season, we will also focus on the rear tyre development and that will be another important part of the season.”
LOOKING TO THE FUTURE: SCQ development to continue, no asymmetric tyres
With many teams and rider requesting that the new SCQ tyre needed more durability, Barbier addressed this and said: “For sure it’s something that we’re analysing quite well. The first target is to achieve a better performance than the SCX tyre; we got in the first two races, so the SCQ was already faster than the SCX in Superpole. Then, in the Superpole Race, we got a good signal at MotorLand Aragon but at Assen, it was too cold. I’m really curious to see what will happen at Estoril; it has an old asphalt so it’s very smooth, and the temperature will rise a little bit compared to Assen, so maybe the SCQ will be used. At the same time, we did some tests in other championships; we spread the SCQ in order to have some feedback in the races. In France, Spain and Italy, we got quite an interesting result with the SCQ. We’re waiting to see what we’ll be able to do in the future.”
When asked about the possibility of the bringing asymmetric tyres, as seen in MotoGP™, Barbier said it won’t happen: “Asymmetric tyres are the best solution when you’re looking for really specialised performance. In MotoGP™, this is related to the fact that they use prototypes, and they need to perform in the best way in specific conditions at certain tracks. For Pirelli, the work we do in WorldSBK is to give a better product to the market and the market couldn’t manage to have asymmetric tyres. It could change from each track and to change the complete direction of the tyres all the time is not an easy procedure. So, we wouldn’t like to use this. I remember at the beginning, we used this; it wasn’t really asymmetric but two compounds of tyres at Monza. We had two long straights and hard braking, so the centre of the tyre was getting cooked. We had a little strip of another compound in the centre and then a standard compound on the side.”
Talking of the SCQ tyre and whether or not it could be used in the future in the long races, in a similar way to how the SCX tyre has become a choice, Barbier said: “The use of the SCQ is forbidden in the long races for this season but that doesn’t mean that we wouldn’t like to go ahead and try and reach them. How soft how can we go? I don’t know! Five or six years ago, the SC0 was the softest tyres we had and now, the SC0 is not used that often. We are working and learning how to use the tyres with the softest compound and it’s something that our competitors aren’t able to do, so it is good for us and gives us competitiveness on the market. How to see if riders, teams and manufacturers are able to use the softest tyres for as long as possible… it’s a good challenge us all!”
DEVELOPMENT PROCESS: how is a manufacturer impacted and how have Honda improved?
Barbier also spoke of how Pirelli’s development has also seen Honda understand their issues with the bike: “If the tyres could change the behaviour of the bike, then they’re quite happy and they can gain some positions. That happened for example this year with Honda. They worked a lot in the winter, and we’ve already seen the result at Assen. It’s a matter of understanding after these three rounds, who will understand how to use the new solutions.
On how Pirelli’s development has helped Team HRC, he was coy: “This is something you have to ask them! I wouldn’t like to give details that are more related to the setup. The work we’re doing on the tyres is helping them understand better where they have to work on the bike in order to improve it. It’s nothing that they can do or with the limited things they can do but they’re learning for the next homologation. It’s an important season for them in order to learn what to do for the next seasons.”
CHALLENGES OF ESTORIL: the biggest elements to overcome in Portugal
Speaking of the challenges posed by the Circuito Estoril, wind was a main factor: “The temperatures that we face at Estoril will give us an idea of how this tyre range is working and what’ll be the needs for the upcoming circuits. Misano in June will be quite warm with quite an aggressive track, and we’ll go to Most with the new asphalt in July. So, it’ll be a new challenge and a completely different season from a temperature point of view. Estoril has wind as a key factor; it’s something important to understand as the wind normally comes from the ocean and changes the conditions of the track dramatically from Friday to Sunday. It’s something that we must look at in order to see if the track temperature will change; It means you could work on Friday with a totally different circuit.”
Looking ahead to Estoril, the tyre options will feature the A0674 development SC1 front and the standard SC1 front; the development SC1 A0843 which debuted at Assen will not be at Estoril. For the rear tyre, the SCQ will be available in the Tissot Superpole Race and also in the Superpole session, whilst the SCX standard – which was the SCX development in 2021 – and the SC0 standard option.
Watch the 2022 Estoril Round with the WorldSBK VideoPass!