Here’s how VR46’s Brembo brakes have changed between 1996 and 2017.

6/30/2017

 1996: Brembo two-piece axial caliper and carbon monodisc 2017: Brembo double caliper radial mono block and high mass carbon discs

​By winning the Assen TT (previously known as the Dutch GP) Valentino Rossi has made another historic record: from the first GP won in his career (Czech Republic GP in 1996 with a 125) to the latest (for now!) twenty years have gone by, twenty years using Brembo brakes.

To be precise, it is 20 years and 311 days, a period of time without precedent. In the past in fact, all pilots who have marked an era have undergone a decline around the age of 35.

An example is Loris Capirossi, who comes second in rank in terms of long career; he was able to win his last GP 17 years and 49 days after his first victory: from the 125 Great Britain GP in 1990, to the 2007 Moto GP in Japan.

          

 

Valentino is the exception to the rule, because at the age of 38 years and 129 days he can still climb the highest step of the podium, beating opponents who are 8, 12, and even 16 years younger.

His continuity at the top has allowed him to become the record holder of victories with Brembo: 115 GPs and we believe it is not over yet.

He does it thanks to a stubbornness and an unequaled will to sacrifice himself in training, as well as a that exceptional talent he got from Mother Nature… and thanks also to his 'papà' Graziano.

This is proved by his braking, always powerful and (nearly always) accurate, with which he overtakes his opponents and then keeps them at a distance.

Not at by chance, from the surveys carried out by Brembo technicians at Mugello, the Doctor has proved to be - this year too - the best MotoGP ''lifter''.

Often his engineers put up a board with the BRK sign, as he is about to pass the finishing line.

By doing so they do not intend to remind him to Brake, but rather to get into a lower gear to save his tires. In fact Rossi needs no advice on the how to brake efficiently.

 

 

To celebrate Valentino's umpteenth record of longevity we had some fun comparing the characteristics of the two motorcycles which start and finish this period of time, and, especially the Brembo braking systems that have accompanied Valentino in his first and latest victories.

18 August 1996: first victory25 June 2017: latest victory
Aprilia RS125 ​Motorbike Yamaha YZR-M1
Scuderia AGV Aprilia ​Team Movistar Yamaha MotoGP
2 stroke, single cylinder, 124,8 cmc ​Engine 4 stroke, 4 cylinders in-line, 1.000 cmc
47 HP ​Power 240 HP
71 Kg ​Minimun Weight 157kg
1 single Brembo caliper in two pieces with axial attachment and 4 small pistons Front calipers 2 mono block Brembo calipers with radial attachment and 4 pistons with differentiated diameters
1 Brembo carbon disk with a 273 mm diameter and standard braking surface ​Front discs 2 Brembo carbon discs with a 340 mm diameter and “high mass”braking surface

 

​As you can certainly see, apart from the number 46 the two motorcycles have nothing in common. The Aprilia RS125 was a sort of mosquito, both for the noise the engine made (characteristic 2 stroke) and for its light weight.

In fact it was scarcely ten kilos more than what Valentino himself weighed. The Aprilia RS125 with which Valentino won his first victory was equipped with a Brembo front monodisc braking system, which combined a carbon disc with a 273 mm diameter and caliper made in two pieces with an axial attachment and 4 pistons.

The caliper used by Valentino with the Aprilia RS125 in 1996 is light years away from the mono block one with radial attachment in 2017. The reason? Very simple, Brembo had not invented them or had just recently started making them! Actually, Brembo had already introduced mono block calipers just two years earlier, in 1996.

This was an absolute novelty that was used only on the more powerful performing 500cc motorcycles, while those ones with less powerful engines - also for a question on cost - continued to use Brembo calipers made with two mechanically joined pieces.

 

 

​As for the concept of radial attachment calipers, we have to wait until 1998. It would in fact be Valentino himself to be one of the first to try out the Brembo caliper in the winter of 98, destined to revolutionize braking systems and go into competition with Aprilia 250.

Mechanically, radial coupling allows greater rigidity in the caliper, which, following the disc in the rotation phase, is subject to less mechanical stress, and consequently less deformation.
Radial attachment moreover makes it possible to oppose resistance to the torque - resistance that is much superior to that on an axial caliper, because it reduces to a minimum elastic deformations, which absorb energy in the braking system. Exploiting the connection on the fork - the so called ''foot'' - the radial caliper stiffens not only the caliper itself but the whole braking system, with an appreciable improvement in performance.

The new concept of caliper, along with a positioning of the brake pads which is better defined in relation to the disc, gives the pilot greater sensitivity in braking, and also allows the diameter of the brake disc to be increased very easily. Since then the Doctor has never ceased to put trust in radial calipers, first in 250, then in 500, and then in MotoGP.

As a matter of fact, when he went into the premier class in 2000, Brembo was already producing the specific radial models for Valentino's Honda. The Japanese company had insisted on them after admiring the great benefits Suzuki had enjoyed in 1999.

 

 

Today, according to the preferred type of disc, pilots and teams can choose between two Brembo aluminum calipers available for the 2017 season:
– light duty, designed and optimized for application with standard brake pads;
– heavy duty, specifically designed for application with ‘high mass’ brake pads

Having reached the highest levels of performance, Brembo researchers then focused on the cooling process of the calipers. In order to achieve this goal, they developed heavy duty aluminum calipers with finned bodies, useful for the improvement of thermal discharge.

This made a huge difference between the brakes in 1996 and the ones used in Assen, also concerning Brembo brake discs on both Brembo occasions.

In 1996 Valentino's Aprilia was equipped with a 273mm Brembo carbon monodisc, whereas in 2017 Yamaha MotoGP now has a Brembo double carbon disc, with a diameter up to 340 mm for the circuits with the most demanding brake performance such as Motegi.

Having come into the world of competitions on 2 wheels in full rights during the 90's, this revolutionary featured material will be used to make the discs of the premier class motorcycles, first for the 500 category and then for MotoGP.

Carbon discs allow a remarkable weight saving on the non-suspended masses, considerably reducing the giroscopic effect, improving the manageability of the motorcycle and guaranteeing a clearly superior performance compared to the ones in steel.

 

 

In particular in Assen Valentino used Brembo 340 mm carbon discs, known as “High Mass”, that is to say characterizes by 120%more mass compared with 320mm standard surface discs.

Since 2014 in fact each team has the possibility to choose from 4 typologies of Brembo brake discs for each GP. With reference to friction material, carbon discs are available with 320mm diameter and 340mm diameter, with high surface (35mm) and low surface (27mm), to guarantee in each course the correct range of functioning in terms of temperature.

In particular, 340mm low surface discs have thermal conduct similar to 320mm high surface discs but, by varying the diameter of the disc, they make it possible to generate braking couples that are superior, with equal pressure in use. In real terms, the brake disc used by Valentino Rossi at Assen in 2017 features a significantly greater braking surface (both because the diameter of the disc is much greater and because the height of the braking band is also greater) compared to the brake disc used in 1996.

When we consider the fact that Valentino used a single front brake disc in ’96, while he uses a double disc today, it follows that the braking surface of the front brakes is by far greater than what was used in 1996.
 

 

 

In the third Millennium Valentino has taken advantage of experiments made by Brembo on the processing of carbon and the evolution of the material itself.
Real giant steps were confirmed in the last 7 laps of Sunday's GP in Assen, under intermittent rain: despite the water and the fall in temperature, Rossi succeeded in using the carbon discs without any problem.

For 20 years Valentino Rossi has been inscribing his name on World Championship rolls of honor and he continues to do so by signing it with Brembo brakes.

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

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