Pirelli has hit back at criticism from the World Superbike Championship riders that its tyres were not good enough to compete in the dry-wet conditions at Monza, retorting that they ignored the alternative options that were 'consistently recommended' to them.
The Italian tyre firm has come under fire after its wet rear tyres were shown breaking up significantly along the home straights during qualifying, a factor that prompted some riders to signal their reluctance to start the first race in similarly wet-dry conditions.
Hampered by ever-changing weather conditions, plus some areas of the partly shaded circuit drying faster than others, Race Direction took the decision to cancel the first race altogether on safety grounds once the heavens opened fully.
However, Pirelli says that while the unique circumstances, coupled to Monza's unusual characteristics, meant it was inevitable that the wet tyres would break up at higher speeds in the dry, it says its intermediate tyres would have been sufficient on the more slippery parts of the circuit.
Claiming that riders ignored this advice despite it 'consistently recommending' this option to the teams, Pirelli racing director Giorgio Barbier points to the successful completion of the Supersport and Superstock races in arguably tougher conditions as proof that its tyres were capable.
“The weekend at Monza was most certainly conditioned from Saturday by weather conditions which were extremely unstable, with nice weather, suddenly alternating with rain and at times even with hail.
"As for Superbike, first and foremost I would like to make an important note on Saturday's Superpole: Pirelli consistently recommended that the teams and riders use the intermediate tyres which were available to them.
“This advice, however, was completely ignored since all of the riders used rain tyres. Clearly the reason for this was the fact that the track was completely dry in places, while in others it was wet due to the trees along the track which kept the asphalt from drying.
“The rain tyres run well at 50per cent-60 per cent, but on the two consecutive straight stretches, which were completely dry, they obviously reached temperatures well above 200 degrees. This caused a meltdown of the compound in the centre. I would also like to reassure everyone on this point that Pirelli tyres have a particular structure with a steel belt, and therefore it is absolutely impossible for them to explode.
“That said, on Sunday the riders in the Superstock classes raced as scheduled, in conditions which were even worse than those during the Superbike races, using the rain tyres on the front and the intermediate or race tyres on the rear. In Supersport, as further proof that the Pirelli rain tyres can most definitely sustain an entire race without any problems, the riders raced and finished on rain tyres.
“So it was a shame that, although the Superbike riders had two intermediate solutions available to them for the rear, they expected only to use the racing slicks. Once the race began, in any case, it was clear that even in those conditions a good race could be run."