— The stage is set for WSBK season finale at Jerez
The eni FIM Superbike World Championship riders are gearing up for the last round of 2013, that will take place this weekend at the Circuito de Jerez, Spain. The last time the Andalusian track hosted an event of the series was in 1990, with the Spanish Round being the season opener for WSBK.
Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) enters the final showdown in confident mood after the double win at Magny-Cours, that allowed the Brit to extend his lead to a comfortable 37 and 38 points over the two remaining title contenders, Eugene Laverty and Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team). With such a considerable margin over the rivals, Sykes could be crowned new World Superbike Champion already after the first race by finishing in third place, in case the two opponents would eventually take the top-two spots on the podium.
All the factory teams and most of the private ones have previously tested at Jerez, meaning the riders will not take too long to get up to speed on the Spanish venue.
Team BMW Motorrad GoldBet line-up will turn into a trio this weekend, as regular riders Marco Melandri and Chaz Davies will be joined by STK team mate Sylvain Barrier, who is set to make his long-awaited WSBK debut after retaining the title in the FIM Superstock 1000 Cup in front of his home crowd at Magny-Cours.
Local rider Toni Elias (Red Devils Aprilia) is targeting a strong result at Jerez, a track he knows well and where he won during his best ever 250cc World Championship season (2003) and in 2010, first race victory of his title-winning season in Moto2.
Leon Camier (FIXI Crescent Suzuki) is down to race despite not being 100% after the injury suffered at Nurburgring. Former BSB Champion will undergo further checks at Jerez prior to the round, before a final decision on his participation to the event. Similar situation for Loris Baz, who is eager to jump on his Kawasaki Racing Team ZX-10R after sitting out from the last three rounds.
Javier Fores will replace fellow Spaniard Carlos Checa for the last outing of what has been a difficult season for Team Ducati Alstare. The 28 year old from Llombai has previously raced in the series, when he stepped in for injured James Toseland to race with Team BMW Motorrad Italia for the last three rounds in 2011.
Australian FX Superbike Champion Broc Parkes will make his comeback to the series by tackling the event onboard the Yamaha YZF-R1 of the YART Team.
Standings (Round 13 of 14): 1. Sykes 411; 2. Laverty 374; 3. Guintoli 373; 4. Melandri 339; 5. Davies 270; 6. Giugliano 195; 7. Fabrizio 186; 8. Baz 180; 9. Rea 176; 10. Cluzel 162; 11. Badovini 127; 12. Camier 114; 13. Haslam 91; 14. Neukirchner 84; 15. Checa 80; 16. Sandi 54; 17. Elias 46; 18. Aitchison 33; 19. Iannuzzo 27; 20. Salom 22; 21. Clementi 18; 22. Philippe 13; 23. Lanzi 13; 24. Canepa 12; 25. Lai 11; 26. Pirro 10; 27. Lundh 10; 28. Hayden 8; 29. Young 8; 30. Reiterberger 7; 31. Allerton 6; 32. Uprak 5; 33. Smrz 4; 34. Stauffer 4; 35. Ercelik 3; 36. Eslick 2; 37. Akiyoshi 2; 38. Haga 2. Manufacturers: 1. Aprilia 500; 2. Kawasaki 465; 3. BMW 412; 4. Honda 234; 5. Suzuki 225; 6. Ducati 169; 7. Yamaha 4.
— World Supersport
After clinching his first-ever World Title at Magny-Cours, Sam Lowes (Yakhnich Motorsport Yamaha) will be back on track to contest his last World Supersport race before moving to the Moto2 World Championship. The battle-hungry youngster from Lincoln will have a final chance for another epic challenge against Kenan Sofuoglu (Mahi Racing Team India Kawasaki).
Confirmed Pata Honda riders for 2014 Michael van der Mark and Lorenzo Zanetti will try and mix it up for what would be their first ever win in the series – and the maiden one for the team this year. Matthieu Lagrive, last minute substitute for injured Florian Marino at Magny-Cours, will be again on track for Team Intermoto Ponyexpres Kawasaki, and he will be replacing this time Luca Scassa.
Complus SMS Racing Honda is going to tackle the round by fielding former CEV Moto3 rider Fraser Rogers.
Standings (Round 12 of 13): 1. Lowes 225; 2. Sofuoglu 181; 3. Foret 134; 4. Vd Mark 117; 5. Zanetti 108; 6. Kennedy 76; 7. Scassa 75; 8. Coghlan 62; 9. Rolfo 62; 10. Leonov 56; 11. Antonelli 55; 12. Marino 53; 13. Morais 47; 14. Iddon 45; 15. Russo 38; etc. Manufacturers: 1. Kawasaki 250; 2. Yamaha 233; 3. Honda 152; 4. MV Agusta 88; 5. Suzuki 36; 6. Triumph 6.
— Superstock 1000
Despite the title already assigned last round, the final race for the FIM Superstock 1000 Cup will play an important role for the riders involved, who are looking forward to end up their season in the best possible way.
With 2013 title winner Sylvain Barrier (BMW Motorrad GoldBet) up to his debut in World Superbike, Niccolò Canepa (Barni Racing Ducati) – who is still looking for his first race win of the season – will try and defend his second place in the standings from Jeremy Guarnoni (MRS Kawasaki) and Leandro Mercado (Team Pedercini Kawasaki), who scored one win each in the last two rounds.
Barrier’s place will be taken by former STK1000 rider and 2013 IDM Superbike Champion Markus Reiterberger.
Standings (Round 9 of 10): 1. Barrier 178; 2. Canepa 145; 3. Guarnoni 128; 4. Mercado 126; 5. Savadori 98; 6. La Marra 85; 7. Jezek 81; 8. Lanusse 60; 9. Bussolotti 55; 10. Andreozzi 51; etc. Manufacturers: 1. BMW 189; 2. Kawasaki 173; 3. Ducati 166; 4. Honda 38; 5. Suzuki 5.
— Superstock 600
Franco Morbidelli (San Carlo Team Italia Kawasaki) leads the way in the points as the Superstock 600 European Championship heads to Jerez for a thrilling finale. The Rome-born rider holds a 10-point advantage on Christian Gamarino (Team Go Eleven Kawasaki), fierce challenger for second place finish in France, and 14 on team mate Alessandro Nocco, dominant winner last time out at Magny-Cours.
Kyle Smith (Agro-on Racedays Kawasaki) is looking forward to the Spanish round boosted by his previous knowledge of the track, after the encouraging performances put up in his first two races in the series.
Standings (Round 9 of 10): 1. Morbidelli 134; 2. Gamarino 124; 3. Nocco 120; 4. Chesaux 113; 5. Duwelz 102; 6. Coveña 81; 7. Mulhauser 67; 8. Nestorovic 63; 9. Salvadori 57; 10. Morrentino 48; 11. Casalotti 42; 12. Schmitter 38; 13. Tuuli 34; 14. Tessels 34; 15. Vitali 27; etc.
— European Junior Cup
Following the hectic race on French soil, the Pata European Junior Cup, powered by Honda riders will contest the last race of the season that sees nine riders still in contention for the title and the top-3, led by Kiwi Jake Lewis (Jake Lewis Racing), between five points of each other.
Standings (Round 7 of 8): 1. Lewis 76; 2. Anne 72; 3. Fernandez 71; 4. Sebestyen 60; 5. Raymond 59; 6. Manfredi 57; 7. Flitcroft 56; 8. Orellana 56; 9. Canducci 55; 10. Bendsneijder 50; etc.
— Statistical Preview – By Michele Merlino
— If Tom Sykes becomes World Champion
He would be the fourth British champion after Carl Fogarty (1994, 1995, 1998, 1999), Neil Hodgson (2003) and James Toseland (2004, 2007). Among these, only Toseland was able to win with a 4-cylinder Japanese bike (2007, Honda),while both Fogarty and Hodgson always won the title with Ducati.
He would be the second World Champion for Kawasaki after Scott Russell, exactly twenty years after the American (1993).
At 28 years and two months of age he would be the sixth younger among the fourteen which have already won the title, behind Colin Edwards (26 years and six months in 2000) and just ahead of the aforementioned Scott Russell (28 years and 11 months). The youngest champion in history is James Toseland: in 2004 he was 23 years and eleven months.
At the moment he would be the World Champion with the most pole positions (8) since 2009, when Ben Spies was pole-sitter 11 times (all time record in a season for the WSBK). If he scores pole in Jerez and wins the title he would be the third champion for number of poles after the aforementioned Spies and Doug Polen, which had 10 poles in 1991. Troy Bayliss in 2008 was Champion with eight poles.
Sykes in this 2013 season won 9 times, climbing on the podium 16 times: Max Biaggi last year was able to win the crown with only five wins and 11 podiums, a rare occurrence, as in the four previous years the champion had won at least ten times during the season and had climbed on the podium at least fourteen times.
Sykes would have clawed back a maximum gap to the top of the standings of 47 points, the ones which separated him from Sylvain Guintoli after the second race at Aragon.
— If Eugene Laverty becomes World Champion
He would be the first World Superbike Champion for Ireland.
At 27 years and four months of age he would be the sixth youngest (see Sykes). He would be the first to clinch his first championship at 27 (Toseland was 23 in 2004, Corser 24 in 1996, Spies 25 in 2009, Merkel and Edwards 26 in 1988 and 2000).
With only one pole (Silverstone), he would won the title like Biaggi last year, which started from pole only once at the Nurburgring. With two poles, he would be also equal with Biaggi in 2010.
Laverty at the moment has 7 wins this year, the same Corser racked up in his Championship-winning season in 1996. The last rider which clinched the title with 8 wins was Toseland in 2007 and with 9 wins Kocinski in 1997. With two more wins in Jerez he would equal the nine wins Sykes already counts this year: last year Max Biaggi was able to win the title despite not being the most successful rider (5 wins to Melandri’s six).
Laverty didn’t score points five times this year: the only champions with five DNFs during the season were Troy Bayliss in 2008 and Ben Spies in 2009.
He would have clawed back a maximum gap of 49 points in the championship standings (after Russia).
— If Sylvain Guintoli becomes World Champion
He would be the second French champion after Raymond Roche (1990). Regis Laconi had his chance in 2004, when he entered as the championship leader the final weekend, but lost out to team-mate James Toseland, finishing second in the standings behind the Briton.
At 31 years and 3 months of age he would be the eleventh oldest to win his maiden championship.
At the moment Guintoli won only once this year out of 25 races, a 4% winning percentage. No rider in history was able to win the title with only one win so far, or winning less than 10% of the races. Fred Merkel won his maiden championship with two wins out of seventeen races (11%) and the following year with three (22 races, 13%). The champions with three wins were Carl Fogarty in 1998 (24 races, 12%) and James Toseland in 2004 (22 races, 13%).
After the second race at Magny-Cours he is at his maximum gap from the top of the standings: 38 points. Sylvain lost the championship lead after the second Nurburgring race, and since then his gap widened at every race.
Either Laverty and Guintoli would be the second World Champion for Aprilia after Max Biaggi (2010-2012).
Either Laverty and Guintoli would be the first one to win the title entering the final weekend with a points disadvantage in the standings since 2009, when Ben Spies was trailing Haga by ten points before Portimao.
At the moment those ten points are the maximum gap recovered by a rider which eventually went on to win the crown in the final weekend. Both Laverty and Guintoli then, face a challenge no one ever faced: recover respectively 37 and 38 points in the final weekend from the Championship leader.
— Pirelli talk Jerez
For Pirelli and the eni FIM Superbike World Championship paddock this is not the very first time at Jerez. The Spanish circuit has in fact already hosted, although only on one occasion, the production based championship, way back in 1990.
For the final stage of the 2013 season, which will decide the destiny of the championship, Pirelli will provide riders with rear tyres in soft SC0 and medium SC1 compounds, including the popular standard SC0 that both designers and riders have been very satisfied with.
As already happened in the past year, and on many occasions in recent years, the eni FIM Superbike World Championship will be decided at the last round. Last year Max Biaggi on the Aprilia managed to become World Champion by only 0.5 points ahead of Tom Sykes. The Kawasaki British rider has now the opportunity to take revenge with 37 points advantage ahead of Eugene Laverty and 38 on Sylvain Guintoli. For Sykes, a fourth place in one of the two races is enough to see him crowned champion, this in case Eugene Laverty had to win both .
As for the Manufacturer Championship, Aprilia leads the overall standings with 500 points followed by Kawasaki at 465, the last round will be crucial to decide who will win the Manufacturer Championship, as well as for Kawasaki will be critical the contribution of the second rider in the race for the title.
While the FIM Supersport World Championship and the Superstock 1000 FIM Cup already have their winners, respectively Sam Lowes (Yakhnich Motorsport) and Sylvain Barrier (BMW Motorrad GoldBet STK), in the minor classes as the FIM Superstock 600 European Championship and the European Junior Cup is still yet to be determined.
In the Superstock 600, an all-Italian battle among Franco Morbidelli (San Carlo Team Italia) who leads the standings with a 10 point advantage on Christian Gamarino (Team Goeleven) and 14 on his teammate Alessandro Nocco (San Carlo Team Italia).
In the European Junior Cup, the championship dedicated to the young talents of motorcycling, the New Zealander Jake Lewis has a lead of 4 points on the pursuer, French Robin Anne, and 5 on the Spanish Augusto Fernandez. Hungarian rider Peter Sebestyen, the French Gullaume Raymond and all the riders up to ninth position in the standings can still mathematically win the championship.
The circuit of Jerez de la Frontera is located in Andalusia, in southern Spain, close to Cadiz and was opened on 8 December 1985. Initially, the track measured 4218 meters then over the years, thanks to some changes that involved, among other things, the Curve Sito Pons and the addition of Senna Chicane, was made longer and faster. Over the past ten years first the pit lane (which now ends at the curve Expo ’92) has been lengthened and were then paved the escape routes of some curves to make the circuit safer. The track was paved for the last time in 2005. For many riders Jerez, as well as Assen, is considered a reference circuit because it presents a series of low, medium and fast speed technically ideal to develop the bike, which is why it is often chosen by the team to make their own private tests.
Jerez from a tyre point of view: The Jerez circuit is 4423 meters long, 3038 meters of these are the sum of the length of the straights, which is around 69 % of the entire track, while those of the curves is 1385 meters, amounting to about 31% of the entire track length. The start-finish straight measures 600 meters with a width of 12 meters, while in the rest of the track is 11 meters. In total thirteen curves, five left and eight to the right with a corners radius that varies from the 30 meters of the curve 2, 6 and 13 to the 116 meters of the curve 4.
The maximum slope is 5.1 % on the main straight while the maximum gradient is 5% at the exit of curve 5. The maximum bank is recorded at the exit of the curves 2, 6 and 13 and is equal to 7.46% and the minimum is 4.70% on the curves 4 and 12. The rider who starts from the pole position will place his motorcycle on the right side of the track.
The curves of this track are very different, in a complete lap are recorded on the rear tyres levels of stress fairly balanced between the right and left side. Although the lateral loads generated during the race are not very high, in order to meet the different needs of the track (fast sections alternating with slow corners, some of these elevated) a rear tyre with a good balance of handling and support in the lean is needed.
The great versatility of use of rear standard Pirelli tyres is capable of responding comprehensively to the demands of this circuit. The only unknown remains the temperature, but with the SC1 for cool temperatures and the SC0 in case of warmer ones, Pirelli will be able to cover even the weather variable.
But we must note that the type of asphalt used to cover the track of Jerez has a quite aggressive grainy, a factor not to be underestimated because it may lead to problems of uneven wear or abrasion on the rear tyre (especially with the use of soft compounds). Specifically, being a circuit that requires a good level of grip at the rear, it was decided to pull over to the standard products SC1 and SC0 two corresponding solutions with similar grip but more protected from cutting and tearing mechanical stress.
From the front point of view, the hops due to the undulations of the asphalt in addition to requiring a manageable and stable in braking motorcycle, will require tyres able to absorb the roughness of the asphalt and properly orientate in the faster corners. Two soft solutions (the SC1 and a slightly stiffer alternative) will be brought to allow riders to find their perfect balance without sacrificing performance.
Jerez from a technical point of view: “At Jerez the Superbike World Championship has stopped only once, back in 1990, and then there was never over,” said Pirelli Moto Racing Director Giorgio Barbier “For this reason, the data in our possession regarding the behavior of the tyres are not many but still we have some information since the circuit is often destination of private tests for the teams during the winter because of the strategic location in southern Europe. It’s a tough track but the asphalt is not particularly abrasive, although when the temperatures are rising too much, especially in summer, it tends to become slippery. In the period we race the only drawback could be caused by a light morning fog because the circuit, a bit like the one of Laguna Seca, is not very far from the sea but at the same time it is also close to a desert and slightly hilly area. The consequence of this could be a temperature swing between the early hours of the morning and the afternoon, which is why we have also brought a SC0 development more protected to prevent any possibility of cold tearing. This is not a particularly fast track but very technical and selective, I’m sure the riders will appreciate it very much and we will see some good races and a grand finale worthy of this great championship”.
Pirelli solutions for the Superbike and Supersport classes: For the last round of 2013 eni FIM Superbike World Championship Pirelli brought to Jerez de la Frontera a total of 4469 tyres of which 1574 reserved for the Superbike riders, 1700 for the Supersport, 448 for Superstock 1000 and 525 for those of Superstock 600, in addition to the 222 expected for the European Junior Cup.
Each Superbike rider will have 32 front and 40 rear tyres, for Supersport riders this number will be of 23 for the front and 27 for the rear.
For teams and riders of the Superbike class slick solutions will be 3 for the front and 4 for the rear, in addition to the rear qualifier tyre in quantity of 2 for each rider as well as the intermediate solutions, 3 for the front and the same number for the rear, and the rain tyres, in quantities of 8 both for the front and for the rear.
On the front the SC1, in soft compound ideal for low external temperatures and/or circuits on average stringent, and the SC2, ideal for high ambient temperatures because it provides resistance to tread, both in the range and brought to all rounds this year. As an alternative to the two standard solutions there will be a development SC1 solution, the S283, which debuted at the Nürburgring and at Magny-Cours has been used by about half of the riders lined up on the grid. The latter solution offers greater robustness than the standard SC1.
At the rear two SC0 and two SC1. The softest solution of the range debuted at Monza with the reinforced central area and has been used at Donington, Portimão, Imola, Nürburgring, Laguna Seca and Magny-Cours with success. This slick solution has a soft compound, ideal for tackling smooth asphalt and high temperatures even if it has demonstrated excellent performance even with track temperatures below 20 degrees. It offers, in fact, maximum tread contact on smooth asphalt and maximum traction development at high temperatures as well as higher resistance to thermal performance decay. As an alternative to the standard SC0 Pirelli will provide riders also with a new development SC0, the S1429, more robust from the mechanical point of view compared to the standard SC0 and that should avoid possible cold tearing to which the standard one may be exposed.
Two the SC1s, both of development: the S1258, which made its debut at Istanbul and that at the level of compound is positioned in the area of standard SC1 with the purpose of improving the thermal-mechanical properties, and the R1431, brought for the first time to Imola and used by all riders at Moscow and Silverstone and brought to Nürburgring and Magny-Cours also, it should be able to provide with better resistance to laceration but same grip of standard SC1.
For the Supersport two SC1 for the front and 2 SC0 and 1 SC1 at the rear. At the front the standard SC1 in soft compound already used and carried in all the races held so far in 2013 is accompanied by the development solution S14, in SC1 medium compound tested at Imola and brought to the race for the first time in Magny- Cours, was designed as an alternative of the SC1 range using a different building process.
At the rear there are two development SC0 in soft compound: the S510 ideal in the case of higher temperatures and already used in Monza, Portimão, Imola and Magny-Cours, and the S1388, a totally new solution that results from Imola tests of which it is a further development. Finally, if the temperatures were more rigid, riders can count on the SC1 R1591, which debuted at Silverstone and has also been taken at the Nürburgring, should offer more resistance to tearing but equal grip than the standard SC1.