To the surprise of absolutely nobody, Pirelli is to remain the official tire supplier for the World Superbike championship until at least the end of the 2018 season. The Italian brand has held the contract to supply tires to WSBK since the introduction of control tires back in 2004, and their continued involvement was widely expected. The World Superbike championship, under both Dorna and their predecessors Infront Motor Sports and FG Sport, have been very happy with the job done so far by Pirelli, and there was little reason to change.
Pirelli won the tire contract after a short tender process, but it is not believed that Pirelli had any serious competition for the role. Bridgestone has only just withdrawn from MotoGP, and is considering its involvement in motorsports; Michelin has just taken over the MotoGP contract from Bridgestone, and has its hands full; and Dunlop is focused on its role in Moto2 and Moto3, and showed little interest in expanding into World Superbikes.
The official press release appears below:
Pirelli Official Tyre Supplier for the eni FIM Superbike World Championship for the 2016-2018 seasons
Team orders, an unpopular aspect of team racing, usually come into play at this point of a title chase, with Eugene Laverty gifting Max Biaggi points to win the 2012 championship being the most blatant example of recent years.
Press releases from the series organizer and the World Supersport and World Superbike teams after Sunday's thrilling races at Jerez:
Race Report follows.
Press releases from the series organizer and the World Superbike and World Supersport teams after qualifying at Jerez:
The rulebook was brought out for an engine too many in World Supersport and a qualifying record was broken by the entire front row in World Superbike.
Superpole One took place under cooler conditions than yesterday's afternoon session.
Marco Melandri brings his morning pace to the warmer afternoon sessions, with Eugene Laverty and Loris Baz within four tenths in this untimed practice session.
Marco Melandri was once again quickest in the colder morning session, along with Davide Giugliano and a surprising Toni Elias. None of the Evo bikes made it through to the second Superpole session, with David Salom missing out by a quarter of a second. Luca Scassa didn't record a laptime, but his time from FP1 is within 107% of Melandri's provisional pole time.
After seven weeks of absence, World Superbike is back. In the interim period, we've lost one team, one factory and one round, and the silly season rumour mill has started back up.
Press releases from the World Superbike and World Supersport teams and the series organizers after the first day of practice at Jerez:
Marco Melandri's time from the morning session stood for most of the session as the day's best time, but Loris Baz, the only rider able to better Melandri's lap, was able to snatch the top spot in the last ten minutes.
Marco Melandri held off Tom Sykes to record the quickest time of the morning by only a twentieth of a second.
Press releases from the series organizer and World Superbike and World Supersport teams ahead of this weekend's Jerez round of WSBK: