Pirelli to take development front tyre to Estoril WorldSBK, all standard rears

Pirelli will take a development front tyre to Estoril for the third WorldSBK round of 2022, while all rear options are standard.

Pirelli WorldSBK tyre fitting. - Pirelli

PIRELLI have announced their tyre options for this week’s upcoming third round of the Superbike World Championship in Estoril.

For Estoril, it is the front that will see a development option, with two versions of the SC1 tyre available. Firstly, there is the standard SC1, which is the softest front compound in Pirelli’s range, and then an A0674. This development tyre has already been used in Assen and Aragon this year, as well as in Jerez and Portimao in 2021, so it is not an unknown tyre for the teams ahead of round three this weekend. 

The aim of the A0674 development is to improve entry and mid-corner support, in theory allowing riders to attack more in the first part of the corner before they go back to the throttle. In Estoril, this can be of particular use, with hard brakings into tight corners throughout the lap, and especially into turn seven, which is heavily downhill.

While the hard braking zones are certainly a factor in Estoril, the rear tyre also faces significant stress through the long, sweeping final corner at the turn 13 Parabolica Ayrton Senna. 

Named after the Brazilian Formula One driver who won his first Grand Prix in the rain at Estoril in 1985, the Parabolica Ayrton Senna features very little deceleration on the entry, and the riders go back to the throttle quite early in the corner with a lot of angle. Minimising wheelspin in the middle of the corner is essential to getting a good drive down the main straight, especially in a battle, where turn one is a primary overtaking zone. 

Dealing with that stress this weekend will be the SC0, SCX and SCQ rear tyres, all of which are the standard options, with no development choices brought by Pirelli at the rear this weekend. 

The lack of development options should make the weekend more straightforward for the teams and riders, and there could be a decent opportunity to work on the SCQ to try to make it last for a race distance. This might not be the choice of the top riders, like points leader Alvaro Bautista, reigning champion Toprak Razgatlioglu, or Jonathan Rea, who took his 100th Kawasaki victory earlier this year in Assen. 

But, for riders like Iker Lecuona, who took his first podium in WorldSBK last time out in the Netherlands, or some of the BMW riders, who are missing something in their package to match the speed and pace of the front runners, being able to make the SCQ last for 10 laps in the Superpole race could at some point this year be the key to finding a podium. Perhaps Estoril will be that point.