WSBK makes Phillip Island pitstop mandatory after tyre issues

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WSBK makes Phillip Island pitstop mandatory after tyre issues
By: Lewis Duncan , Journalist
Feb 24, 2018, 7:23 AM

The second race of the Australian World Superbike weekend will feature a mandatory pit stop due to safety concerns regarding Pirelli's tyres.

WSBK organisers Dorna had already been forced to shorten the weekend's Superport race on Sunday from 18 to 16 laps and include a mandatory tyre change, as cooler temperatures during the weekend have led to an increase in grip, and thus severe wear.

During Saturday's WSBK season-opener several riders experienced issues with their rear Pirellis, most notably reigning champion Jonathan Rea, who dropped back to fifth having been in contention for the win due to a tyre problem.

WSBK Sporting Director Gregorio Lavilla said of the situation: “Unfortunately we had some issues regarding the tyre life [in race one].

“Following a meeting with the teams to discuss the possible options, we decided the best way was to do a flag-to-flag, which luckily our rules comply with.

“We normally use it for climactic purposes, but now we are using it for other purposes, unless it rains.”

In the event of a dry race, riders must pit at the end of laps 10, 11 or 12 to switch tyres. Race distance is expected to remain at 22 laps.

This is not the first time Phillip Island has played havoc with race formats as the result of tyre issues, with the MotoGP race in 2013 forced to take on a mid-race pit stop in dry conditions.

Barni Racing's Xavi Fores will start Sunday's reversed grid race from pole after finishing race one fourth, with Rea and Yamaha's Alex Lowes completing the front row. Saturday winner Marco Melandri will launch from ninth.

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