It’s been announced that Pirelli will continue to be the Official Tire Supplier to the FIM World Superbike Championship until 2015. A new contract was signed between Pirelli and Infront Motor Sports that secures the Italian tire maker in its current role in the World Championship as unique racing tire supplier for the four racing classes through the end of 2015.
The relationship began at the start of the 2004 season in an attempt to give all participants a level playing field as well as a way to reduce the overall cost of running the championship. This new agreement emphasizes the commitment of Pirelli's motorsports strategy, which is also the Official Tire Supplier for Formula 1 until 2013.
Paolo Flammini of Infront Motor Sports said: “We are delighted to be able to renew the contract with Pirelli. Eight years of working together have provided results beyond our highest expectations. Once again we can count on a tire supplier whose commitment to the product, service and development is second to none. The presence of seven manufacturers in World Superbike and full grids in all four classes requires a supplier who can guarantee excellence and Pirelli has fully respected those guarantees, providing stability to the championships and contributing to their success.”
According to lap times, which are in part due to continued tire improvements as well as motorcycle development, following the first season in 2004, average race times have fallen year after year: -0.2 secs (2005), -1.2 (2006), -0.8 (2007), -0.6 (2008), -0.7 (2009) and -0.2 (2010). This has resulting in an average reduction of race time of -0.4 secs per year for a total of -2.8 seconds.
Superpole qualifying times have quickened as compared to previous years: 7 faster Superpoles in 2010, 8 in 2009, 8 in 2008, 8 in 2007, 9 in 2006 and 9 in 2005 (not considering new/modified circuits and wet Superpoles).
Excluding any tracks modified from one year to the next, 21 track records have been registered at the 21 circuits on five continents where WSBK has raced. Pirelli has also released information some of its technical efforts to remain the sole tire supplier. For example, they supplied a total of 212,633 racing tires for the 2008-2010 seasons, comprising 185 different compounds, profiles and sizes. Considering these tires were used by an average of 20 riders per race, over a 100km distance during each of the two races per round, Pirelli has obtained feedback on its Diablo Superbike slick tires from over 775,000 competition kilometers.
As well as meteorological conditions, temperature extremes remain the biggest challenge for tire development, yet Pirelli was able to develop solutions for asphalt temperatures from an extreme low of 6°C during Race 1 at Donington in 2011, and an extreme high of 58°C in Race 2 at Misano in 2008.
The FIM World Superbike Championship has enjoyed the loyalty and growth of the championship’s spectators: close to 120,000 fans were present for the Brands Hatch round in 2006 and Monza race in 2009, contributing to more than 5.5 million spectators who’ve attended at least one Superbike race over the last 8 years (2.6 million from 2008-2010).