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SBK, Barbier: “No to MotoGP, Pirelli develops in Superbike for series production”.

“MotoGP has taken a different approach to SBK. Ducati was the bike that wore the tyres the most, Bautista's secret is the obsessive approach brought by MotoGP. With the same Pirelli tyre, you can do a race with 15 and 45 degrees. With Dorna we are ready for renewal"

SBK: Barbier: “No to MotoGP, Pirelli develops in Superbike for series production”.


The World Championship is ready to begin and one of the topics that is taking centre stage at Phillip Island is the one relative to the tyres. As we well know, the Australian track has always put tyre wear to the test and for Pirelli it is no small challenge.

On the eve of the start of the World Championship we spoke with Giorgio Barbier, Superbike track manager for the Italian manufacturer. With him we addressed various issues of the present and the future. The first was the super time set by Alvaro Bautista during the Portimao tests, where the Spaniard came within a whisker of Bagnaia's MotoGP record.

“I think it's always wrong to make comparisons between such different worlds - Giorgio began - in fact, in Portimao we encountered virtually perfect conditions, the same ones that MotoGP will find when it goes testing soon. I am convinced that when MotoGP laps in March the times will drop further, and all the talk will be over".

Someone on social media said it would be interesting to put a Pirelli tyre on a MotoGP bike.

“The need for a MotoGP bike is different from that of a Superbike, given that the prototypes are lighter and have carbon brakes, as well as particularly invasive aerodynamics that put a lot of loads on the front and rear. This involves considerable overheating and very significant pressure increases. So, it is not certain that if you fit a Pirelli tyre on a MotoGP bike you are sure of the result or performance. As far as I've seen in recent years, MotoGP has started to take a different path than the production-derived bikes. I'll also add something else."

Of course!

“To rubber a prototype nowadays you must do a specialization job in terms of compound and casing, focusing on each individual track. In SBK, on the other hand, this thing doesn't happen except on a particular track like Phillip Island".

Giorgio let's talk about the new developments on the Superbike front. Will there be a new evolution at the front in Europe?

"Exactly! This year we will work on a third soft front solution, which will allow for extra grip in order to get the most out of it above all in Superpole. As for the rear, the SCX becomes the softest tyre in the range, while the SCQ will tackle the sprint race. Personally, we are very enthusiastic, because in addition to producing high-performance tyres, with the same Pirelli tyre you can do a race with 15 and 45 degrees".

Obviously, you must then interface with the riders. What do Alvaro, Toprak and Rea have in common?

“Alvaro has brought a technical and pragmatic approach to MotoGP to SBK, and I think this is the aspect that makes the difference. He is very obsessive in his work in the box and in his riding style. Toprak, on the other hand, has a huge talent and he uses it to compensate for any limitations. The fact is that giving stability to someone like him is not easy. Finally, there is Rea. I consider Johnny to be a courageous rider, because he has always been willing to try all the material we brought, thanks to a particularly consolidated motorcycle base".

What do you think of Bautista's tyre management?

“It’s certainly impressive. Alvaro is doing a great job, but at the same time Ducati has done it too, given that until a few years ago it was the bike that wore out the tyres the most".

This year the contract with Dorna for SBK expires. Are you ready for renewal?

“I think this is the right championship to develop our tyres and then meet the needs of the market. In these, the bond with Dorna has strengthened, reaching excellent goals, so I think we are on the right path to continue together".


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