Brakes at full throttle for 20 miles at the British MotoGP

8/21/2017

Steel or carbon discs? An existential dilemma on Silverstone Circuit if it rains

Forty years since its debut in the 500cc class at Silverstone Circuit, the MotoGP is back on the British track for the 12th race of the season. Compared to 2016, the event is being held one week early: it is on the calendar for August 25 to 27.

Built after World War II on an abandoned airport, the track is located just outside the town of Silverstone (currently 2,100 inhabitants) and was the stage for the inaugural GP race in the 1950 World Formula 1 Championship.

The World Championship bikes didn't arrive until 1977 because the British MotoGP had previously been held on the Isle of Man.

The track used by the MotoGP bikes measures 5,9 km long, which makes it the longest circuit in the World Championship.

Another distinguishing feature of the track is the rain that falls at least once over the course of the weekend.

In 2015, the rain influenced the race that Valentino Rossi won and the year before, the Q2 was run under an out-and-out cloud burst.

While the MotoGP riders have relied on steel discs when it rained in the past, that doesn't necessarily mean they'll do so again this year.

As demonstrated in the final laps at Assen, Brembo's latest generation of carbon discs seem to work well on a wet track too.

 

 

According to Brembo technicians, who assist 100% of the 2017 MotoGP pilots, Silverstone Circuit is fairly demanding on the brakes. On a scale of 1 to 5, it earned a 3 on the difficulty index, the same score given to the Misano Adriatico and Valencia tracks where races are still to be contested this year.


 
 

The demand on the brakes during the GP

Out of the 18 corners on the circuit, there are 10 braking sections.

On seven of these, the brakes are used for more than three seconds.

On one full lap, the MotoGP riders apply their brakes for 34 seconds, which totals 11 minutes over the course of the entire race.

In other words, each bike travels a total of 32 km with the braking system at full throttle.

Summing up all of the force applied by a rider on the Brembo brake lever from the starting line to the checkered flag, the result comes in at more than 969 kg, which, practically speaking, comes to a force of 25 kg for every minute of the race.

The average peak deceleration of the MotoGP bikes on this track is 1.11 G, a value that would be higher without the three corners where the deceleration measures just 0.6 - 0.7 G. In spite of this, the average deceleration of the MotoGP bikes at the British GP is higher than the 0.1 G of a Tesla Model X.


 

The most demanding braking sections

Of the 10 braking sections at Silverstone Circuit, two are classified as very demanding on the brakes, five are of medium difficulty and the remaining three are light.

Even though it isn't where the bikes brake for the longest distance, the Stowe corner (turn 7) is the most challenging as far as the effort required by the riders and the braking system.

To reach a delta of 201 km/h, going from 326 to 125 mph, the load on the lever weighs 6.8 kg and the pressure on the Brembo HTC 64T brake fluid reaches 11.8 bar.

The Brooklands corner (turn 16) is where the riders brake the longest in terms of distance (269 meter) and time (5 seconds).

 The MotoGP bikes slow down from 294 km/h to 104 km/h by applying a 6.2 kg load on the lever, while the pressure on the Brembo brake fluid reaches 10.7 bar.

For both of these and for the Copse corner (turn 1), the average peak deceleration is 1.5 G.

The pilots enter the corner after the starting line going faster (143 km/h) than what is recorded for the other two corners, which is why the brakes are only used for 3.5 seconds.

 

 

Brembo performance



In the last four editions of the British MotoGP, four different riders won and another four stood on the podium, all of them equipped with Brembo brakes. Last year Suzuki earned the checkered flag with Maverick Viñales, his first victory in MotoGP.

The last to win two years in a row was Jorge Lorenzo with Yamaha and Brembo brakes. Ducati has never won a MotoGP on this track, but it has been victorious 12 times in World Superbike.


 

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

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