Pirelli is preparing for the start of the 2012 MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship as it welcomes the introduction of new riders, teams and circuits combined with 'limited electronics' regulations designed to encourage rider skill. The Italian tyre firm will be closely monitoring data obtained in this pioneering year, with riders using no traction control, potentially altering tyre wear characteristics.
The 2012 incarnation of this innovative series sees some important new developments as it continues to attract top riders and teams, including three times World Superbike (WSB) runner up and British fans favourite, Noriyuki Haga. Haga will be well used to Pirelli rubber having raced in WSB since 2004, when the Italian brand became the 'control tyre' to achieve closer racing. 'Nitro Nori' as he is known, will benefit from many years on Yamaha YZF-R1 machinery as he joins the Swan Yamaha squad with defending champion Tommy Hill. Other exciting new riders who will have experienced Pirelli tyres before will be World Superbike, Supersport and Superstock rider Luca Scassa, Alex Polita- Italian Superbike Champion, Anthony West and Florian Marino (all former World Supersport) plus Freddy Foray (French Superbike).
The 2012 MCE BSB regulations are very different to those seen previously to create close racing that is more affordable for the entire paddock; restricted engine tuning, a rev ceiling 750rpm above a machine's road going rev-limit and most crucially a one-spec ECU (or engine management) system. This new ECU has effectively outlawed traction-control, anti-wheelie and launch control systems, giving more input and control back to the rider. One major objective of traction control is to manage tyre wear, so it will be very interesting to observe the Pirelli control tyres under these new conditions across different circuits.
Pirelli continue their philosophy of introducing World Superbike developed tyres into British Superbike and beyond and this year a new compound Pirelli Diablo Superbike SC1 rear tyre which has been developed to provide higher grip levels without sacrificing durability.
As single tyre supplier to the series for the last four years, Pirelli has worked hard with teams and riders to supply tyres which provide consistent, high levels of performance at all UK circuits in all conditions. For 2012 there will again be two options of tyre; SC1 and SC2 , with '1' being the softest and '2' the hardest solutions. A similar range of rear tyres will be available at the first rounds whilst teams and tyre engineers ascertain the effects of running without traction control.
Crucially all these tyres continue to be available 'over the counter' to customers throughout the UK for use on trackdays and all levels of racing.
Jason Griffiths, Pirelli UK Racing Manager commented, "BSB delivers a superb line up of riders and teams for the new season reinforcing its reputation for providing a real spectacle for the fans to enjoy. For Pirelli the advent of a new season provides a new challenge, the removal of traction control will ask our tyres to respond to managing 'raw' Superbike engine performance. We start the year with a new SC1 compound which we're confident will provide the riders with the 'feel' that they need to help them transfer the power to the track. BSB round one is certainly not to be missed!"
Pirelli will be taking part in the two official BSB tests at Brands Hatch and Snetterton this week in preparation for the season's traditional Brands Hatch kick-off event over Easter weekend on 7-9th April.