Pirelli riders come back from injury for 2011 Isle of Man TT road races
After a year of rueing the misfortune of its main riders, Pirelli says that it will bounce back with a strong line-up for this year’s Isle of Man TT, which it hopes will be more competitive than ever. Two of Pirelli’s biggest hopes, Guy Martin and Conor Cummins crashed out of the final Senior race whilst in leading positions in 2010. Pirelli’s racing manager and Isle of Man resident Jason Griffiths lives and breathes the TT. Thirteen times a podium finisher at the TT, Jason said, “We didn’t have a lot of luck last year with our riders showing great pace but a series of technical and rider DNF’s, meant we didn’t see the top step of the podium. Guy is definitely in great form and we’ve carried out some interesting and positive tyre tests with him over the winter. There are a number of quality riders lined up this year and with Hutchy ruled out through injury it could go a number of ways for the main protagonists. Most of all we hope for good, safe racing and a continuing good spectacle for the fans.”
Using extensive experience at the TT, combined with many years of control tyre supply at World and British Superbike, Pirelli development technicians have created tyres to withstand extended 200mph action whilst retaining ultra high grip for the many different types of corner. Its Superbike riders will be running on special Pirelli Diablo Superbike slick rubber whilst competitors in the Superstock and Supersport classes will be using road-based production Diablo Supercorsa tyres, as per British and World Supersport events.
Guy Martin now rides for TT team Relentless by TAS Suzuki, throwing his lot in with a full manufacturer-supported effort. Since his dramatic fireball accident at the Glen Vine sector last year, Martin has been the star of his own TV show, ‘The Boat that Guy Built’, also appearing as the protagonist of the film ‘TT3D-Closer to the Edge’. More relevantly, he has recently been on an extensive testing programme with his team and Pirelli throughout the UK and Spain.
Manxman Conor Cummins was on the crest of a wave at last year’s TT, having recorded more 131mph+ TT laps than any other rider and he set the fastest lap of the entire TT festival at an average speed of 131.5mph. He led the Superbike and Senior races before crashing at the Verandah section of the circuit, seriously injuring his back, knee and arm. After a long period of recuperation during which Cummins has ridden in National Superstock races, he is ready for this year’s event.
Another rider Pirelli has marked as one to watch is Gary Johnson, who has gradually built his pace up at this historic event and this year has produced fast times in each evening practice session. Other riders representing the Italian brand include James Hillier, Adrian Archibald, Steve Mercer and Dan Stewart.
The world-renowned Tourist Trophy is seen as one of the greatest challenges of man, machine and rubber with each lap of the 37.73 mile long course containing over 200 corners and is held in high esteem at Pirelli HQ in Milan. Racing is planned to get underway on Saturday, 4 June with the Dainese Superbike, followed by the Monster Energy Supersport Race and Royal London 360 Superstock on Monday, 6 June. Wednesday sees the second Monster Energy Supersport Race and the final event on Friday, 10 June: the PokerStars Senior race.