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MotoGP, Petrucci: I'll tell you why the SBKs are faster

The Pramac Ducati rider on the Jerez tests: "Pirelli qualifiers are exceptional, but in terms of pace, the MotoGPs are 2 seconds faster"

Petrucci: I'll tell you why the SBKs are faster

During the Jerez tests, the time set by Jonathan Rea - a 1’38”721 - truly impressed, not only because he was faster than all of the MotoGP bikes on track, but he also improved on the pole position time set by Valentino during the April GP (1’38”736). The World SBK champion was not the only man to record exceptional lap times as Davies too would have qualified on the second row of the grid for the MotoGP race, as would Sykes.

These are only tests of course, and comparing performance to that during a race held months ago has no scientific value, but it does make us wonder whether the production-derived bikes are really in line with the prototypes. Can an SBK really be quicker than a MotoGP?

We put the question to Danilo Petrucci who has shared the Jerez track with his SBK colleagues this week.

I have to admit that those bikes are very fast, but certain times are to be taken with a grain of salt” explains the Italian.

The tyres are key in this debate.

Among the tyres that Michelin has provided for this year, we have all used 2 front options and one rear, the solutions were all quite hard, like race tyres” highlights Danilo.

Very different to the SBK equipment.

I remember the Pirellis, as I used them both in the CIV championship and when testing the Panigale for Ducati. Their qualifying tyres are expectional over one lap, but then the times increase by a couple of seconds - explains the Pramac rider - They also work very well in cold temperatures, and here at Jerez the track has been quite cool”.

So there you have it.

The Michelins that we have used are different, just consider how, after 22 laps with the same tyre, I was still within half a second of my best time, while if we look at the SBK times they are roughly two seconds slower than the MotoGPs” continues Danilo.

The flying lap could have been different with the Michelins.

If they'd brought us slightly softer tyres, still race tyres, we'd have significantly lowered our times. I remember that, in the tests here at Jeez last year, we were able to lap in 1’38”0 using that tyre that was then withdrawn during the season”, he concludes.

It's an interesting topic anyway, because it highlights how, despite the millions invested in development, the tyres have a significant bearing on performance. An ugly duckling can become a swan - it simply needs the right shoes.

Photo © Alex Farinelli

Translated by Heather Watson

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