Four weeks after the Isle of Man TT, MotoGP is getting ready to challenge its Tourist Trophy, but this one is on the TT Circuit Assen.
The Dutch track is the only one to have hosted races since the founding of the World Championship and will play host to the 8th round of the 2019 World Championship from June 28th to 30th.
Dating back to 1925, the track has changed its configuration and length plenty of times. In 1992, it was at Assen that Mick Doohan's right leg risked being amputated after he fell during a qualification lap and got trapped under his Honda.
His leg was saved by Dr. Costa, but when he came back to win, credit went in large part to the thumb master cylinder Brembo engineers designed especially for him so he could activate the rear brake without using a pedal.
Even though it has 18 corners, TT Circuit Assen is very drivable with lots of fast turns and only one that is tight. This track also stands out because the deceleration is lower than at others. The maximum speed doesn't go over 310 km/h (193 mph) but the number of fast curves guarantees the braking systems can cool down with ease.
There are very few problems at this track, but one involves weather conditions.
According to Brembo technicians, who assist 100% of the 2019 MotoGP riders, TT Circuit Assen is only slightly demanding on the brakes. On a scale of 1 to 5, it earned a 1 on the difficulty index, a score equaled only by Phillip Island.
The demand on the brakes during the GP
The 18 corners on the track require the MotoGP riders to turn to their brakes only 10 times, braking for more than 170 meters (558 feet) on only two of these.
Each lap, the brakes are used for an average of 30 seconds, while the Superbikes use them for 28 and a half seconds. Over the course of the entire MotoGP race, the brakes are used for 13 minutes, which is equivalent to 33 % of the total time.
The average peak deceleration of the MotoGP bikes on this track is 1.04 G, compared to 1.03 G experienced by the Superbikes, but they use steel brakes. 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 almost 0.9 tons, a good 50 kg (110 lbs) more than the force required of the Superbike riders.
Each lap the pilots are required to exert a force of 34 kg (75 lbs), which is no small feat for the riders who show up in less than perfect physical condition.
The most demanding braking sections
Of the 10 braking sections at the TT Circuit Assen, only one is classified as demanding on the brakes, one is of medium difficulty and the remaining eight are light.
The descending right-hand braking section at the Haarbocht Curve (turn 1) is where the riders and braking systems have to work the hardest. The bikes arrive going 285 km/h (177 mph) and the riders brake for 4.2 seconds in a space measuring 219 meters (719 feet).
To be able to set up the curve, the riders have to reduce their speeds to 115 km/h (71 mph), which means applying a load of 5.2 kg (11.5 lbs) on the brake lever and undergoing a deceleration of 1.5 G. Meanwhile, the pressure created through the Brembo HTC 64T brake fluid reaches 11.1 bar.
At turn 9 (De Bult), speeds drop from 234 km/h (145 mph) to 114 km/h (71 mph) in 3.6 seconds during which the MotoGP bikes travel 169 meters (554 feet). This requires applying a load of 4.9 kg (10.8 lbs) and experiencing a peak deceleration of 1.1 G.
Turn 6 (Ruskenhoek) on the other hand, is the only corner where the riders go over 300 km/h (186 mph). To stay on the track they need to brake for 1.9 seconds, the time required to drop down to 237 km/h (147 mph). As a result, the load on the lever is about 2.8 kg (6.2 lbs) and the pressure of the brake fluid doesn't exceed 6 bar.
Bikes with Brembo brakes have won 29 of the 500/MotoGP races contested at TT Circuit Assen, the last 25 being consecutive. In 1979 on this track, Brembo secured its second victory in the World Championship premium class thanks to Virginio Ferrari with Suzuki.
Valentino Rossi has won eight times here in the 500/MotoGP, the last six times taking place in odd years.
Ducati has won only once in 2008 with Casey Stoner.