Official race info from BMW: The next round of the 2013 FIM Superbike World Championship marks the first of three home rounds for the German-Italian BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team. The fourth round of the season will see the series head to the iconic “Autodromo Nazionale di Monza” in the north of Italy this weekend (10th to 12th May). The race track is located close to the Milan headquarters of BMW Motorrad Italia, which is responsible for the works teams’ race and test outings as well as the chassis development.
Factory rider Chaz Davies (GBR) has already celebrated two victories with his BMW S 1000 RR this season. In the Riders’ classification, he is currently third with 83 points, tied on points with second placed Eugene Laverty (IRL) and Tom Sykes (GBR / fourth). His Italian team-mate Marco Melandri for several reasons has had a difficult season so far but has finished twice on the podium. He is currently eighth with 51 points. For Marco, Monza is his first home round of the season. In the Manufacturers’ Classification, BMW is second with 99 points.
Last year, the action on the Sunday was significantly cut short at Monza. After heavy rainfall, the first race had to be completely cancelled and the second one had to be shortened to eight laps. To prevent a repeat of last year’s issues, the track was resurfaced in the ‘Parabolica’ section in order to improve the drainage and to smoothen the formerly bumpy surface.
For the BMW Motorrad GoldBet STK Team with riders Sylvain Barrier (FRA) and Greg Gildenhuys (RSA), Monza marks the third round of the 2013 FIM Superstock 1000 Cup. Sylvain won the first race at Aragón (ESP) and finished second at round two at Assen (NED) on his brand new BMW HP4. In the Riders’ classification, he is leading with 45 points.
Monza from the rider’s point of view
“I am looking forward to Monza. It is quite different to most circuits because the track has not many corners but very fast straights. We have been to the wind tunnel last week and we will try to transfer the things we learned there to Monza. The track with its long straights should suit our powerful RR quite well, and I am confident that we will have one of the most competitive bikes in Monza. But power on the straights is not everything. We will work on further improving the chassis a little bit and on finding the best settings for this track. Overall, I hope for a smoother weekend than in Assen and then we will see how things go. The atmosphere at Italian races is always something special, the fans are so excited and you feel that Italy is the heart of Superbike racing in Europe. Hopefully everybody will have a good weekend and enjoy some exciting racing.”
“I really like Monza because it is a unique track and in dry conditions it is just a great circuit. In wet conditions, on the contrary, it is really difficult to ride a bike there, so I’m hoping for good weather. Regarding my physical condition, I am pretty satisfied. I am continuing with my training and expect to be quite fit for the race. On the other hand, Monza is not a physicalyl demanding track, so I think that I will not struggle with my shoulder, also because there are not too many corners. It will be really important to exit these corners in the best possible way in order to be as fast as possible on the straights. Unfortunately this is the area where I am still struggling and don’t feel as comfortable as I should, but overall I am confident for the races. I think that we are well positioned, especially with our strong BMW engine.”
Monza from a sporting point of view
Serafino Foti (Sport Director BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team): “Monza is always a special round. The people are looking forward to it and the interest in the race is huge. In addition, the whole team regards Monza as one of their home tracks. Both Marco and Chaz are extremely motivated. Monza is a fast track they really like and, thanks also to the characteristics of our bike, we are sure that both will do very well. Marco will be quite fit for his mission to overcome the unlucky previous race and we are working hard to allow him to be up in the front positions – where he is used to being. Chaz showed in Assen, how maturely he manages tense situations. I am sure that in Monza he will be very strong and put the previous race behind him. In the Superstock class, we have to continue the positive trend. Monza is a track which suits our bike and, even if our rivals will be very competitive, Sylvain and Greg will surely give us a good weekend.”
Monza from a technical point of view
Andrea Dosoli (Technical Director BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team): “Monza is another historical race-track. It is unique for several reasons but mainly for its speed. It is the fastest race track of the calendar with an average speed over 200 km/h. There are three straights where we can shift up to sixth gear, reaching more than 320 km/h. In Monza, the engine performance and the aerodynamic package play a very important role, but we should’t forget the braking stability and the good handling which are essential in the chicanes around the track.We’ve been working hard in all the areas of the bike. This included an important test in the wind tunnel in which Chaz, as Marco did last year, focused on finding the best riding position for the long straights. We will find a new track surface at Monza which should have fixed the issues we had last year in the famous ‘Parabolica’. We’re all hoping for stable weather conditions as we have some work to do on the set-up of the RRs for our two riders. After all the unlucky issues we experienced in Assen, we have worked hard to consolidate our performance, learning from the past and looking forward to be back in the fight with the top riders.”
Monza from Pirelli’s point of view
Pirelli is ready to race on its home track with the new 17 inch Diablo Superbike tyres. The length of the Monza straight stretches, the sustained high speeds and violence of the braking zones place stress on the central part of the tyre with demands that no other track in the championship has. Basically, the thermal energy developed at a zero lean angle both in acceleration and in braking is about 5 times greater than that developed at Assen. Then there is the thermal demand on the right-hand shoulder which, especially in the Biassono turn, stays in a lean for a long time in acceleration, reaching thermal energy values on the shoulder that begin to approach the record levels of Phillip Island. For the Superbike class, Pirelli offers four dry solutions for the front and three for the rear. These are joined, as always, by the rear qualifier, the intermediate and the wet tyres. On the front, there will be an SC1 solution and three SC2 solutions. The standard SC1 and SC2 slicks (R426 and R982), which were already used in the first three rounds of the current season, are joined by two development SC2 solutions that Pirelli had as yet only brought to Phillip Island: the R1220 that looks like a more robust and more protected SC2 compared to the standard one and the R753 which is even more robust than the R1220, to the advantage of even greater wear resistance.
For the rear three solutions are planned which Pirelli considers to be development solutions because, although they retain the standard tyre compounds, they integrate particular measures in order to handle the problems created by the Italian track, just one of which is the reinforced compound at the central portion of the tyre. For the first time in the 2013 season there will be an SC0 blend solution (S515), the softest available, which should be used in high temperatures. This tyre is basically like the standard SC0 which has the same compound, but it has a reinforced central strip which is able to provide protection against blistering. The SC0 is joined by two SC1 development solutions in medium hardness compound, the S513 which differs from the standard version only with a reinforced central section and the S514 which, in addition to the reinforced central section, was specifically designed with different internal structure and materials in order to keep operating temperatures particularly low. The peculiarity of reinforcing the central tread strip adopted for the rear race solutions will also be used on the qualifying tyre available to the riders for the Superpole sessions. These tyres have four pink stripes on them instead of the usual yellow stripes in honour of Mother ‘s Day which is celebrated in many countries on Sunday race day, 12th May.
The high-speed circuit in Monza’s Royal Park was opened in 1922 and is one of the most iconic racetracks in the world. Monza, a town with a population of 120,000 to the north of Milan, is closely associated with the history of motorsport. Automobile and motorcycle races have been held at the “Autodromo Nazionale di Monza” for 90 years. Fans all over the world are familiar with corners such as the “Parabolica”, “Lesmo” and “Ascari”.
Over the past few decades, the circuit has been the subject of multiple modifications. Monza is one of the classic races on the Formula One calendar, and the Superbike World Championship has been a regular there since 1990. In 2010 it was the scene of BMW Motorrad’s first major milestone in the Superbike World Championship, when Troy Corser claimed the team’s maiden podium.
Monza is very different to the other circuits on the calendar. The long straights and ultra-quick corners mean the bike must perform well and have a good top speed. However, the high-speed layout of the circuit is interrupted by many stop-and-go sections, which really test the durability and stability of the brakes. These include the particularly slow first chicane. The bike must be well balanced when braking, whilst at the same time accelerating well out of corners.
One particular challenge is the high-speed “Biassono” corner, in which riders must accelerate for a long time whilst leaning into the turn. The mixture of constantly high speeds and zones demanding hard braking puts the centre of the tyre under greater strain than at any other circuit.