World Superbike tyre suppliers Pirelli are targeting a six-tenth a lap improvement in 2009 as they get ready to embark on an intensive winter programme of testing.
The Italian tyre manufacturer, which won the tender to be sole supplier for the World Superbike Championship back in 2004, will go to the upcoming tests in Kyalami, South Africa to try and establish an improvement on their performance this season.
Input from Pirelli helped the WSBK riders lap around half a second quicker this year than they did in 2007, an improvement that their racing activities director Giorgio Barbier is keen to repeat in 2009.
“We want to ensure we have a product that guarantees the most constant performance possible in the races, in line with what we have been trying to achieve over the years in our commitment to SBK as single tyre supplier,” he said.
“This year we have obtained an average improvement of six-tenths of a second per lap at almost every circuit, and next year we hope to be able to repeat that result.”
With BMW and Aprilia bringing the number of manufacturer entries up to seven and the prospect of a 30-plus full-time grid in 2009, Barbier also acknowledges that next season's championship could be their most challenging yet.
“It will also be our first official test with Aprilia and BMW and therefore our chief aim will be to make available the final evolution versions of the 2008 tyres for them so they can start to work with those.
"There will be a lot of innovations for next year, starting with the arrival of two new factory teams, plus new circuits and the new Superpole procedure, which will change the situation a bit regarding the tyres. We'll have to optimise the overall work process, and the development work will also be going in that direction.”