“Tale of two tyres” in Thruxton BSB round
Pirelli has called the second round of the British Superbike Championship at Thruxton a “tale of two tyres”, as the SC2 harder rear Diablo Superbike tyre compound was fitted to the winning bikes in both races. Ian Lowry took his first ever series win and the Championship lead, as he and race two winner, Josh Brookes both opted for the SC2 to beat series Tommy Hill towards the end of each race. British Champion Hill used the softer SC1 compound rear tyre in both outings.
The fast, abrasive circuit combined with the new 2012 BSB specification rules, outlawing traction control, convinced Pirelli technicians that the less used SC2 compound tyre might be utilised. However the fact that free practice on Sunday was held in wet conditions meant that many teams lost time in set-up and did not mange to try every tyre combination.
Qualifying was again held in difficult conditions as the fully wet track quickly dried due to its abrasive, porous nature. Riders set off on Pirelli Diablo Rain tyres and steadily progressed through intermediate and then fully slick rubber throughout the three sessions. Race one saw Lowry and Hill break from the rest of the field, eventually finishing thirteen seconds from third placed Brookes. The Northern Ireland man then sat behind the Hill until pouncing on lap 17 into Cobb Corner. Lowry’s bike was visibly more stable as his harder compound (SC2) Pirelli rear tyre proved the better choice compared to the softer SC1 of Hill. Lowry commented: “We decided to go for the harder rear Pirelli back in Friday practice and then set the bike up to the tyre which held out all through the race.”
Hill also took the lead in race two before being reeled in by a hard-riding Shane Byrne. The two were joined by Lowry, Stuart Easton and then eventually Josh Brookes, who proceeded to pick off each rider individually before usurping Hill for the win on the last lap. Brookes strengthened on the latter part of the race, utilising his harder spec SC2 rear Pirelli against Hill’s softer SC1. Hill conceded the point in his post race interview saying: “It’s annoying to get mugged for the win in the closing stages of both races and maybe we should have changed to the SC2 for the second race but we’d not had the set-up time so it would have been a real gamble. At the end of the day its two second places so it’s a good day for me and Swan Yamaha.”
Brookes said: “The team gave me a really good bike today and that allowed me to push for the win. The bike should have been all over the place but the tyres were gripping well even at the end of that race, so I had loads of confidence.”
Pirelli Racing Manager Jason Griffiths summed up; “This was a tale of two tyres today. The SC2 harder rear tyre was the tyre of choice taking the win in both races. We were very satisfied with the performance and durability of the SC1 option which remained competitive to the end of the 20 lap races. We congratulate the Padgetts team and Ian Lowry on their first BSB win and it’s fantastic for the series to have had three winners in three races.”