Pit-stop introduced again for WorldSSP opener over slick tyre concerns

The WorldSSP Championship opener at Phillip Island will feature a mandatory pit-stop due to conerns over the durability of the newly introduced slick tyres

Randy Krummenacher - MV Agusta

The opening round of the WorldSSP Championship will see the ‘flag-to-flag’ rule introduced due to ‘insufficient data’ about the longevity of the new Pirelli slick tyres at the demanding Phillip Island circuit.

New for 2020, the intermediate class will compete with slick tyres for the first time but concerns from teams and riders that they are not sufficient to complete a race distance in Australia has forced the FIM to introduce a mandatory pit-stop.

Under the temporary ruling, riders must pit within the first 10 laps of the 16-lap encounter to have their tyres changed.

This is not the first time the FIM have played it safe at Phillip Island, a circuit known to be particularly demanding on tyres due to its fast corner speeds. Last year’s race invoked the flag-to-flag rule even with the grooved tyres.

“This year for the first time, the 600 class uses slicks instead of the grooved tyres,” confirmed Giorgio Barbier, Pirelli’s Racing Director.

“Despite the long runs some of the riders did during the tests, the data Pirelli collected was insufficient to evaluate what would be the behaviour of the tyres for the entire race, therefore the decision was made, in accordance with Dorna and FIM, to implement the flag to flag format for the Sunday race.”

The ruling has no effect on the WorldSBK races, which will run to the full distance with no pit-stop.