Why tyre choice could be critical in deciding British Superbike top six – Pirelli
With Shane Byrne, Leon Haslam and Jason O’Halloran already confirmed in the British Superbike Championship Showdown, this weekend’s triple header at Oulton Park will decide the final three Title Fighters as nine riders go head-to-head to secure their position. Pirelli will supply its softer rear (SC0) Pirelli Diablo Slick, expecting it to be the popular choice should conditions stay dry, on Oulton Park’s flowing, smooth asphalt. At the front, riders will have a choice of the softer SC1 tyre, or the harder SC2 favoured by the recent Cadwell Park winner Leon Haslam.
When the series visited here in May, it was JG Speedfit Kawasaki rider Leon Haslam and Buildbase BMW star Richard Cooper who shared the spoils as Cooper claimed his maiden Superbike victory. Christian Iddon took a pair of second places and he will be desperate to get his season back on track after some bad luck in recent races.
The event has added importance as with three races over the two days there are 75 points up for grabs, and for the six riders who make the Showdown, 15 “podium credits”, as they are awarded 5-3-1 for the three steps of the podium.
Pirelli UK racing manager Jason Griffiths commented: “Oulton Park is a fitting venue to decide the final three ‘Title Fighters’. It’s a circuit that does not present an issue in terms of tyre durability so our expectation is continued use of the softer SC0 compound rear slick tyre in the Superbike class. We often encounter localised rain showers at Oulton and the fast drying nature of the circuit rewards a rider that is prepared to make a tyre choice based on how track conditions may change during the race. We certainly saw that on our last visit when Richard Cooper claimed a well deserved race win. The three race format for the Superbike class makes it a busy weekend for the Pirelli service but one that we’re looking forward to.”
Taking his first ever Superbike win at the circuit in May, Richard Cooper explains his thoughts of the Cheshire circuit, “After winning my first ever BSB race at Oulton of course I’m looking forward to returning there next week. And the fact we get three races is even better. It’s a shame we didn’t get the points we deserved at Cadwell to take the pressure off a bit coming into this round but I’m confident my Buildbase BMW will work just as good as it did earlier in the year.
“If the conditions are warm and dry all weekend we will continue to use the SC0 rear tyre, it’s good for qualifying and if you use it right it will easily go race distance. I’ve just started using the SC2 front which has given me confidence on corner entry just before releasing the brake. My tyre choice when I won was inter front and slick rear. For me it didn’t seem like a gamble at all as the conditions were clearly drying out and with a 18 lap race ahead I knew my tyres would go the distance. I used the inter front for some extra front grip over the damp track on the brakes in the early laps.”