A new era begins, Pirelli returns to the World Championship on Monday

A new era begins, Pirelli returns to the World Championship on Monday

Pirelli has been out of the GP world championship since 1989 with Piefrancesco Chili winning in the wet at Misano with the Honda NSR500. A race that went down in history due to the defection of the other top riders, judging the asphalt too slippery. That same year, the Italian giant had bet heavily on the Superbike, hitting the World title in the first attempt with the Californian Fred Merkel and the Honda RC30, a combination now consigned to the Myth. Some time would pass, seasoned by numerous triumphs in Supersport, before Pirelli anticipated history by inaugurating the revolution of the single supply. In 2004 it seemed like blasphemy. In fact, Superbike promoter Maurizio Flammini risked the trust of the Japanese manufacturers, who went out en masse, leaving Ducati to dance on their own. But instead it worked: in the space of a few years, the Japanese manufacturers backtracked and the mono-tyre became a trend also in F1 and in the MotoGP world championship. Pirelli returns as single supplier to Moto3 and Moto2, replacing Dunlop who leaves the scene at the end of this season. The adventure begins on Monday, here’s who will be there The new course opens on Monday 4 September, the day after the Catalan GP on the Montmelò track. All the teams of the two categories will be on the track. The list of participants is not yet known, but it will be intriguing. Because it is expected that some will ride with the regular riders, while some teams will anticipate the times by running the riders already signed for next year. Still other teams have called up testers who preferably have experience with the Pirellis. The Forward team, for example, will have Simone Corsi, leader of the CIV Supersport, on stage this weekend at Mugello, and the Turkish Bahattin Sofuoglu, owner of MV Agusta in the World Championship of the same category. How many tests are scheduled? Testing at Montmelò will last just one day, it couldn’t be otherwise given that in the evening the teams will have to disassemble everything and race to Misano for next weekend’s GP. At the moment Dorna and Irta have not communicated to Pirelli other available windows. There will certainly be no further opportunities before the conclusion of the World Championship in Valencia (November 26). So Pirelli will have very little time and rare occasions to prepare: next year we start on March 10 in Qatar. Which Pirelli tires will be used in Moto2? The planned allocation for Monday’s test is already known to us. For Moto2, Pirelli will test the exact same tires used in World Superbike, in these sizes: front 125/70 and rear 200/65, both 17 inches. Compounds: front SC1 (medium) and SC2 (hard), rear SC0 (soft) and SC1 (medium). Curiosity: in this test the Moto2 riders will use Pirelli tires normally on the market for trackday activity. In Superbike, at the rear, the super soft SCX is the most popular, in various configurations of compound and construction. However, the Moto2 races are longer, and it is understandable that in this first reciprocal taste the Italian manufacturer prefers to rely on ultra-tested solutions. Quantities available per driver that can be used during the day: seven dry trains, three rain. And for Moto3? In the smaller engine size, however, Pirelli will introduce specifically made tyres. Sizes: front 100/70, rear 120/70, always 17 inch. Here it was planned to go even more conservative: medium (SC1) and hard (SC2) will be available for both axes. Will there be times available? The teams will have them, because Dorna will leave the entire reveal system on the track, including split times. But they will not be disclosed, for the obvious reason that the contract with Dunlop is still in effect. The World Championship promoter therefore wants to avoid direct comparisons between the two competitors. Barcelona is an extremely harsh track for tyres, so the choice is strategic: in the event of any problems, Pirelli will have the necessary information to intervene. If, on the other hand, the riders and teams feel comfortable on this tremendous test bench, everything else will take care of itself. Jonathan Rea the splendid biography: “In Testa” available on Amazon

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