Pirelli unveil Mandalika allocation, SCQ tyre returns
The SCQ tyre is back for the first time in 2023 as Pirelli unveil their variety for the Motul Indonesian Round
After a fascinating curtain-raiser at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, the 2023 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship is back in action just days later as we arrive to the Pertamina Mandalika International Street Circuit. WorldSBK’s newest venue, debuting in 2021 for an epic title showdown, is always one of the most passionate events on the calendar with a packed home crowd. Ahead of the round, Pirelli have revealed the tyre allocation, with harder compounds on the front being met with softer compounds on the rear.
SOFTER THAN LAST YEAR: Pirelli makes tweaks compared to Mandalika 2022
Pirelli has opted for softer rear tyres, compared to those chosen in 2022. Looking at the data collected from November, when the last race was held in Mandalika, Pirelli verified that the new track surface is not excessively abrasive but can reach high temperatures. The soft solutions at the rear are therefore the ideal choice because they are able to guarantee better grip. For this reason, this year the medium SC1 solution is no longer present in the rear tyre allocation and instead the extra soft SCQ has been included, which will be used in Superpole and, if the conditions are suitable, also in the Superpole Race.
For the front options, the new 2023 standard solutions are confirmed: medium SC1 and hard SC2. With Mandalika being a circuit that puts stress on the front tyre, last year the SC2 solution favoured the most. There are three options on the rear for the grid to pick from, two of which can always be used and one only for Superpole and the Superpole Race. Those available throughout the weekend are the super soft SCX-A (development spec. B0800) and the soft SC0, the latter being the most chosen from last year. For Superpole and the Superpole Race, there will also be the extra soft SCQ, which is also standard.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? who will favour the softer allocation?
After comments in testing and from 2022’s performances, Kawasaki tend to prefer a development in the harder direction, something that Jonathan Rea and Alex Lowes both stated in testing at Jerez. Rea commented that for the Kawasaki’s characteristics, tyres should be developed “more in a harder direction”, whilst Lowes commented that, “with our bike, historically, we prefer a stiffer front tyre and there’s been many races where we’ve been the only ones on the stiffer front.” For the front tyre at least, harder compounds are available this weekend in Indonesia. As for the SCQ, Kawasaki riders haven’t taken a win with it yet, but they have had pole positions in the first half of 2022 with Jonathan Rea, notably at Estoril and Donington Park.
Elsewhere, Ducati riders tend to shine when there’s less grip, something emphasised by Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) after Phillip Island, following his P14 Superpole position. As for Yamaha, their bike is versatile to suit a variety of tyres, although softer rubber seems their preference. In terms of general performance, Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) said that on his side, they were struggling to take profit of fresh rubber in general, whilst BMW riders tend to extract maximum performance the SCQ, demonstrated many times by Scott Redding (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team).
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