Tires – Interview with Guglielmo Fiocchi, Pirelli Global Manager –

Interview with Guglielmo Fiocchi, Pirelli Global Manager

Tires - Interview with Guglielmo Fiocchi, Pirelli Global Manager -

To launch its new Angel ST motorcycle tire, Pirelli attempted longevity records on a speed ring! On site for 24 hours marked by passion and Italian marketing, Site was able to interview the big boss Pirelli.

Angel ST breaks seven world records !

To demonstrate the performance of its new Angel ST tire (read), Pirelli did not do things by halves: assuming that the life of a tire communicated by a brand could be interpreted with suspicion by some users, the Italian manufacturer has decided to organize a world event at the technical center of Nardò, where the longest circular track in Europe is located (12.5 km).

On the handlebars of Suzuki Hayabusa and Kawasaki 1400 GTR covered with sensors, 30 participants took turns for 24 hours, in 30-minute sessions, to weld at 230 km / h! Through these world records endorsed by the FIM, everyone was able to directly measure the capacities but above all the endurance of the Angel ST, subjected to the strong constraints of Sport-GT motorcycles developing 155 and 198 hp during the equivalent of a loop that would go from Miami to San Francisco, Seattle, New York and back to Miami, all in 24 hours !

In total, no less than seven world records were broken despite a night-time engine failure of the Kawa, which forced its unfortunate pilot to push the imposing Japanese for 7 km, without any assistance so as not to break the records … In the end, Angel ST’s train mounted on the Hayabusa covered 5,137.784 km at an average of 213.961 km / h! For its part, the GTR 1400 does not leave empty-handed since it has all the same accumulated 2,502.873 km at an average of 208.573 km / h, setting another record for duration in 12 hours..

Five other records also fell this weekend, including that of the 10 km covered in 2’29.987 min (240.021 km / h on average!) Or the 1000 km in just over 4:30 (4:30: 20.514 hours) at 221,123 km / h average! Not a little proud, Pirelli of course drew the attention of the public on arrival to the good condition of the rear tires of the motorcycles, certainly strongly marked on the tread but rather well preserved in view of the demands and the weight of the two "monsters. "Japanese (279 kg dry for the GTR and 220 kg for the" Falcon ") !

Invited to Southern Italy to try out the brand new Sport-Touring Pirelli tire, the Angel ST and its unique drawing of an angel giving way to a demon after 1000 km (read), journalists from all over the world have could attend an original marketing approach, as only Italians know (dare?) concoct them !

Convinced of the technical qualities and endurance of its latest models, Pirelli has in fact decided to mount the Angel ST on two of the most powerful motorcycles in the "sport-touring" segment (Suzuki 1300 Hayabusa and Kawasaki 1400 GTR) in order to ” set world records, approved by the FIM, for longevity at high speed on the Nardò ring, in southern Italy. Objective: cover a little more than 10,000 km in 24 hours with a single Angel ST train for each motorcycle, all at an average of 230 km / h meter (see box opposite) … Forza !

Between frequent glances at the good progress of the records and the Superbike races in Qatar (read) followed with fervor on a small screen provided for this purpose, the world manager "motorcycle" Pirelli, Guglielmo Fiocchi, agreed to respond to Site on the international economic situation and the ambitions of the Pirelli group (of which Metzeler is a part), as well as on the genesis of the Angel ST and its importance in a booming Sport-Touring market.

Site: What is Pirelli’s current position compared to other manufacturers in the world, in Europe and in France ?
Guglielmo Fiocchi: The competition is so fierce with other manufacturers that we don’t want to communicate our results by country … Sorry, but it’s top secret! On the other hand in Europe – just like in South America – the Pirelli group is n ° 1 and we are second behind Dunlop in North America. Personally, I don’t take into account the Asian, Indonesian and Malaysian market, as these are markets almost exclusively geared towards less than 125 cc. This market is nevertheless gigantic and we are aware of it. But over there the price of a tire is ridiculously low and in these conditions the quality cannot keep up, which goes against our philosophy..

M.-N.C. : Does the current crisis, which is affecting sales of new motorcycles around the world, have a direct impact on Pirelli, or does the aftermarket limit its impact? ?
G. F. : It is obvious that the context is tense but it is still too early to say, because January and February are not favorable months for tire sales. However, in 2008, the Pirelli group was the only one among the major manufacturers to have seen its turnover increase. We have sold nearly 12 million road tires around the world, mostly aftermarket of course! The replacement market is much more important for a manufacturer than that of the original equipment. However, I think that in 2009, the volumes of the aftermarket market will be more or less equivalent to those of 2008.

M.-N.C. : What are the expectations of users today regarding tires? Is the trend for sport, tourism, product lifespan ?
G. F. : I believe that in 2009 the trends will go towards versatility: motorcycles and tires with which you can do whatever you want, however you want. Specific segments such as "racing" tires will persist but will not increase. Customers are turning more and more to Sport-Touring, like our Angel ST. This market has grown significantly over the past five years and now represents 20% of aftermarket sales. Likewise, the demand for tires intended for road trails – like the BMW 1200 GS, the Honda Varadero, the Suzuki V-Strom, etc. – continues to increase, even if these motorcycles (and therefore these tires) are no longer truly all-terrain. The average rider rides on the road all year round, but wants to be able to take a short excursion on a rolling path with his motorcycle. Finally, demand is growing in the scooter segment, especially in France, as the number of people who go to work on two-wheelers is significant today..

M.-N.C. : Is the transfer of technologies from competition (World Superbike for example) a reality on commercial tires, or is it just a marketing argument ?
G. F. : Oh no, it’s certainly not just a marketing approach! Competition is deeply rooted in the mind of Pirelli and we always choose to engage in disciplines that can have a direct impact on our production for our customers. The connection with the race is of course very strong between tires mounted on road sports cars, but also on Enduro tires which benefit from our involvement in major events such as the Dakar or the Touquet which we have just won. And even tires intended for "road" use take full advantage of our research: the EPT (Enhanced Patch Technology), for example, was developed in World Superbike to increase the surface area on the ground on the angle and we find it today on our Angel ST. In Superbike, out of the 40 new technical solutions developed this season for our riders, we will retain two for commercial tires in 2010.

M.-N.C. : Is it possible, in the future, to design and produce a tire that is even more versatile than a Sport-Touring? A tire that would have grip in all conditions and that would allow some forays on the circuit, while having a satisfactory life ?
G. F. : No, that will never be really possible because the motorcycle is a vehicle with a panel of very specific demands. A Supersport will always have very different needs, focused almost exclusively on performance, while GTs need stability, mileage, ease and safety of driving. Nevertheless, we are aware of the fact that this demand for versatility is growing. With the Angel ST, for example, we have tried to make it as enduring as the Diablo Strada, but also more sporty and reassuring in all conditions, thus making it possible to "play" with your motorcycle whenever the opportunity or the desire arises! As a bonus, the price of a train will be lower than that of the Strada !

M.-N.C. : Regarding the Angel ST precisely, this new cosmetic – with this drawing of an angel who gradually gives way to a demon – does it correspond to a customer request or to a Pirelli initiative ?
G. F. : It is indeed an invention of our marketing department, in order to visually underline the versatility of our tire: you have the angel watching over you in all conditions and also the demon – symbol of the sportiness specific to Pirelli products – together in the same tire! However, you also have the longevity required of this type of product (around 15,000 km with a 600 Naked and 9,000 km with a big Sport-GT), as shown by the world records we set this weekend. !

To be continued very soon on Site: the complete test of the new Pirelli Angel ST … Stay tuned !

Interview by Alexandre BARDIN

Related articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *