WorldSBK: Pirelli Explains Race 1 Tire Failure at Misano

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Michael van der Mark suffered a rear tire failure during the closing stages of Race 1 at the Misano WorldSBK round.

The Dutch rider was leading the race at the time, and had a firm chance to claim a first career victory in the class, when his rear tire suddenly failed and pitched him off the bike through the series of fast right-handers at the end of the lap.

For Pirelli, it is the second round in a row where they have seen a tire failure affect the outcome of a race, after Jonathan Rea suffered the same fate at Donington Park.

Three weeks ago, Rea was using a development SC0 compound tire when he suffered an instantaneous drop in pressure, after the tire came off the rim and caused him to crash at the Old Hairpin.

In Rea’s case the damage was different to Van der Mark’s, as explained by Pirelli’s Communication Manager, Matteo Giusti:

“Johnny was using the V0602 tire which is a development SC0, but Van der Mark was a standard SC0 tire,” said Giusti in Misano. “The standard tire means that it is the tire that is available on the market for customers, and it has been available for more than one year.”

“It has been used many times, it is actually the most used tire in the WorldSBK Championship, and in a lot of national series too. They were two different tires and two different problems with different damage to them.”

“Johnny had a tear in his tire that was about 10cm along the side of the tire whereas Michael had a small hole in the surface. With Mickey’s tire, you can put your finger through the tire, but we are not sure what happened to cause this on the tire.”

“We are trying to understand where the damage came from, but we cannot do a lab test here at the race track, so we will analyze it. The damage is completely different to what happened to Johnny at Donington, so we now need to try and analyze the reasons that could have been a factor to causing the hole.”

“It could be related to tire pressure, how it was fitted, or any number of reasons. The track temperature is unlikely to have been a factor because it was 50°C and we have run in these conditions before.”

The standard SC0 tire that caused van der Mark’s crash is one that has been used extensively in the series, as well as in numerous national championships around the world, without a similar failure, so while Pirelli will strive to understand the cause there is a large volume of data with which to prove the tire’s durability.

“We want to understand why we have had issues in consecutive races,” continued Giusti. “They were not the same problem, but it is an issue with two different rear tires on different tracks. This tire has been in use for more than one year and we have not had an issue like this before with the standard SC0 tire.”

Photo: Yamaha Racing

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Steve English

"Superbike Steve" is known best for his on-air hosting of the WorldSBK race feed, but when he's not looking pretty for the camera, he is busy writing stories and taking photographs for Asphalt & Rubber.