New Era As MCE BSB Moves To 17" Pirelli Diablo Superbike Tyres
Pirelli UK, Burton on Trent, UK – 15th April 2014– The battle for the 2014 MCE British Superbike crown is set to commence this weekend at the iconic Brands Hatch circuit in Kent and all eyes are on local hero Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne to see if he can lift an unprecedented fourth trophy.
For 2014, Pirelli will introduce their new 17” DIABLO™ Superbike tyres to the British Superbike Championship. Having been developed and used in last season’s World Superbike series, the tyre has proven itself with fast lap times and race durability around the World’s circuits. In pre-season BSB testing Shane Byrne has already lapped Donington and Snetterton under the existing lap records.
The 2014 solutions include a new SC0 soft rear tyre which, in good conditions and on a well set-up machine, could well be the race tyre of choice. The harder SC1 choice could well be utilised in cooler conditions and on more abrasive circuits. It’s thought much of Friday and Saturday’s practice will be gaining data to make that all important race tyre decision for race day.
At the front end the choice will be between a softer SC1 and a harder SC2 with most riders anticipated to opt for the softer choice.
In the case of bad weather there will be two choices for both front and rear; a full ‘Rain’ tyre and a ‘Wet’ intermediate option for the conditions riders hate most; mixed track conditions.
The Brands Hatch Indy course is a favourite amongst fans as they can see almost the entire circuit however the short and tight nature of the track sees race duration reach thirty laps. With no sustained high speeds due to two short straights and the predominantly right handed nature of the circuit, caution has to be taken in the early laps to ensure heat build-up in the left hand side of the tyre. This is particularly relevant at Graham Hill Bend as rider’s drop the bike into this tricky downhill left hander.
Alongside the British Superbike Championship, Pirelli will once again be the sole tyre supplier for the British Supersport Championship, the National Superstock 1000 and 600 Championships, the Tristar R&G Triple Challenge and the Ducati TriOptions Cup. All riders in these classes will run Pirelli DIABLO™ Supercorsa V2 tyres.
Showing their support for this high spectator attending series, Pirelli offer customers who purchase a set of DIABLO™ Supercorsa SP, DIABLO ROSSO™ Corsa, DIABLO ROSSO™ II, DIABLO™, ANGEL™ GT, ANGEL™ ST, SCORPION™ Trail, the chance to claim a free BSB ticket. More details at www.pirelli.co.uk/moto
After narrowly missing out on the title last year and following an impressive run in pre-season testing, three-time BSB Champion Shane Byrne and his Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki team come into the season as favourites to claim an unprecedented fourth crown.
Sure to run Byrne close however will be Australian Josh Brookes who has made the switch to the Milwaukee Yamaha team over the winter. His vacant seat at Tyco Suzuki has been filled by former MotoGP star John Hopkins, who after narrowly missing out on the title in his debut season by just 0.006s (at Brands Hatch in 2011), will be going all out for victory.
Riders who will be competing for those prestigious six Showdown spaces will undoubtedly be Tommy Bridewell on the second Milwaukee Yamaha, reigning British Supersport Champion Stuart Easton as teammate to Byrne, a seemingly resurgent Ryuichi Kiyonari on the Buildbase BMW plus the GBmoto Kawasaki duo of James Ellison and Chris Walker who have all put in some strong times over winter testing. Also impressive in recent testing has been Ducati Panigale mounted Jakub Smrz who has instantly taken to being reunited with his beloved Bologna machinery.
The International flavour of the series continues this season as Czech Smrz is joined by riders from Australia, USA, Japan, France, Switzerland and for the first time Brazil.
New for the 2014 season is a revised point scoring system aimed to give more precedence to the first half of the season. The six riders at the end of round nine will still go through to the Showdown, however podium credits in the first nine rounds are now worth 5 points for a win, 3 for second and 1 for third.
Pirelli UK Racing Manager Jason Griffiths commented, “Feedback from testing has been extremely positive as the riders have enjoyed a good ‘feeling’ with the new 17 inch tyres. Shane Byrne has circulated under the lap record at both Donington and Snetterton proving the strength of the 17 inch material.
Hopefully we’ll benefit from dry conditions for this weekend’s racing. Track temperature will then play a significant role as the SC0 could be a race solution if we encounter track temperatures approaching 20 degrees. Whatever the weather throws at us we’re really pleased with our range for 2014 which also includes the all new Diablo Wet, for use in intermediate conditions. It’s fitting that the BSB debut of the 17 inch range is at Brands Hatch, where Pirelli began supplying the tyres for the series in 2008.”
View from behind the screen
2011 Champion Tommy Hill is enjoying time out from racing but intends visiting as many rounds of the series this year; “I’m helping some riders this season and should be at eight BSB rounds, it was interesting going to the Snetterton test, I almost felt like a punter!
Obviously Brands is very local to me and I have actually done a lot of laps there recently with trackday tuition which gives you another perspective on the circuit. In some ways qualifying for BSB will be similar in that it’s all about track management, ie grabbing a decent bit of space on a busy track. I used to try and hold back quite a lot at the Indy circuit to take a run up and get a good clear track… but it’s easier said than done. Qualifying is obviously crucial as it can be hard to carve through the pack, maybe more so than any track.
When I look at the riders, Shakey will clearly be at the sharp end, week in week out and it was interesting hearing his thoughts on his strategy for the year and the Showdown. Everything he says makes sense but as a racer he will be going for wins at every race just like we all do!
I like the new points, it rewards riders for wins in the first part of the season. The riders will appreciate that more and I’m sure the fans will to. Talking of fans I’ve got to say it’s cool to see how we’re still getting much bigger crowds than in WSB, it helps that our series keeps changing things to keep them exciting I’m sure.
There’s a lot of riders jumping teams, so that definitely all plays into Shakey’s hands and it will be interesting to see how Hopper gets on. He had so much to prove last time he was here, which I think he did, so its all down to how he approaches this season, especially with his time off.”
2013 Flashback (Brands Hatch Round 1- April) :
Race one result:
1. Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki)
2. Alex Lowes (Samsung Honda) +1.376s
3. Josh Brookes (Tyco Suzuki) +6.207s
4. Jon Kirkham (Buildbase BMW) +9.009s
5. Tommy Bridewell (Bathams Honda) +9.326s
6. Keith Farmer (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) +13.351s
Race two result:
1. James Ellison (Milwaukee Yamaha)
2. Alex Lowes (Samsung Honda) +1.997s
3. Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) +5.904s
4. Ryuichi Kiyonari (Samsung Honda) +11.507s
5. Josh Brookes (Tyco Suzuki) +15.974s
6. Jon Kirkham (Buildbase BMW) +21.280s
More information regarding Pirelli’s entire range of racing and road tyres can be found at www.pirelli.co.uk/moto
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For more circuit and BSB information visit www.britishsuperbike.com