What is Dovizioso's secret to success? It could be a certain Brembo master cylinder

6/21/2017

The Ducati rider has been using a Brembo thumb-operated master cylinder for a year now. Here is what it is and how it works:

After securing the double win last week (Italian GP and Catalan GP), Andrea Dovizioso is fulfilling the dreams of all the Ducati fans. The manufacturer from Borgo Panigale, Italy, hasn't celebrated two victories in a row since 2010 with Casey Stoner. There is just one question everyone is asking: what is the secret behind this rider's recent come back? Up until the first half of the last championship, Dovizioso had only won one MotoGP race.

Now, in just seven days, he has added another two wins for a total of three when counting the 2016 Malaysia GP at the end of last season. He has undergone a total transformation in the last 12-15 races, probably due to a combination of factors. This rise coincided with his adopting a specific Brembo technical solution, that appeared to have been forgotten.

Over the course of the second part of last season, Dovizioso got used to managing the rear brake with a hand lever, one that the Brembo engineers had dusted off to provide a technical solution just for him. In the last few months, Andrea has gotten very good at using this instrument and not just to slow the bike down in braking sections, but also to stay balanced when accelerating.
To prevent dangerous skidding, Dovizioso uses the calibrated "clamps", which give him a kind of traction control that is literally manual. Let's take a better look at the advantages that there might be to using this unusual rear master cylinder designed and built by Brembo.


 

 

 
 

THE ORIGINS

The thumb-operated master cylinder was designed by Brembo engineers to compensate for the physical shortcomings of Mick Doohan. Mick had fallen during the 500cc test laps at the 1992 Dutch GP.
The Australian rider risked having his right leg amputated after it was smashed in the accident. Since the rider had difficulty modulating the force with his leg, the Brembo engineers designed a solution specifically for him.
The rear brake was activated with a hand control positioned on the left handlebar, rather than with a foot pedal on the right side. This was one of the factors that contributed to Mick Doohan returning to competition riding, leading him onto winning five consecutive world championships from 1994 to 1998. Many experts still claim today that the use of the thumb-operated master cylinder was a determining factor in his extraordinary winning streak.


 


REBIRTH

On the wake of Doohan, other riders have adopted this same solution but with varied results and non have demonstrated the same skill as the Australian pilot. Having been placed on the back-burner, the thumb master cylinder is now coming back into fashion. Dovizioso has been using it since 2016 and as of this year Danilo Petrucci and others are in the experimental phase. In SBK, Tom Sykes is one of the biggest fans of the Brembo thumb master cylinder.

 

 
 

ADVANTAGES

Its scope no longer matches the reason why it was created, that is to control the rear brake. In fact, lately the riders use it to avoid skidding in the corners. Practically speaking, the thumb master cylinder is use as a kind of traction control: it is activated mid-corner in order to stay close to the tire traction point, straightening out the bike as quickly as possible.
Also, with respect to the traditional rear brake, the thumb master cylinder is more ergonomic. Riders who have big feet and wear more than a size 43 find it difficult to use the lever mid-corner where the lean angle surpasses 60° because the movement space is limited by the tarmac that is increasingly adherent to the bike.
With a thumb-operated lever, the command is more sensitive and the rider can be more precise in managing it, however, it takes getting used to.
In MotoGP today, the Brembo thumb master cylinder is used together with the pedal-operated master cylinder, and the rear master cylinder is replaced with a dual circuit Brembo master cylinder that can activate the rear brake with both the traditional pedal and the thumb, depending on the circumstances.


 

ADAPTATION
Clearly the move from a brake operated by the right foot to a thumb-operated master cylinder takes time to get used to. It requires a lot of experimenting to find the perfect place to position it on the handlebar, to identify the ideal calibration and to sharpen the riders' automatism.
Considering that on the track the rear brake is often used to correct and close the trajectory while riding through a corner at full throttle, most likely the advantages of the thumb master cylinder will be perceived as greater for/by riders who have developed more sensitivity to the pressure applied by the thumb. Stemming from this and from many years of experience on the track, Brembo has developed sophisticated modularity and ergonomics in the rear master cylinder.
Many websites wrote that Jorge Lorenzo, for example, began experimenting in Australia last February but he had already tested it and tossed out a similar solution with Yamaha a few years back in Sepang. Currently several riders are experimenting with this kind of Brembo solution.

 

 

CAN IT BE PURCHASED?

Is it possible to purchase the Brembo thumb master cylinder for my motorcycle? Of course, just visit the bike configurator at www.moto.brembo.com to find all of the Brembo products that are available for your motorcycle. Designed for the world of racing, the master cylinder is operated by the left thumb, uses either a 13 mm or 14 mm piston, and has a 16 pivot distance. Keep in mind that this component was designed specifically for racing. So, mounting it correctly on a production series bike might require the use of a specific adapter that is not supplied with the product. Most importantly, the assembly should be done by a highly qualified professional who is particularly skilled in the racing sector.

It just takes your thumb to revolutionize the way you ride.

 

 

Brembo S.p.A. | P.IVA 00222620163

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