World Superbike Championship comes home. Without a minute’s rest for the brakes


 Sustained efforts for Brembo pads at Donington Park and guide to the best pads for road bikes


Two years after its last visit, the World Superbike Championship will cross the English Channel for the fourth round of the 2021 season. This is a return to its origins because, in April 1988, Donington Park Circuit hosted the inaugural races of the newborn World Championship for series derivatives. 

According to Brembo technicians, who work closely with 17 World Superbike riders, this circuit is demanding on the brakes. On a scale of one to five, it received a difficulty rating of five, identical to Barcelona, for the alternation of all kinds of turns and braking sections, with few stretches where the braking system can breathe. ​


Pads named (almost) like a car​​​

Z04 sintered pads are the most commonly used Brembo pads in the World Superbike Championship. The friction coefficient exceeds 0.8 even at 50°C (122°F) and does not drop below this threshold until 400°C (752°F). The result is stable and consistent performance even at high disc temperatures, making fading less likely. 

Some riders use front pads with the radiator. These are fixed to the pistons and therefore not at risk of tilting when mounting the wheel. This makes for a faster replacement of the front wheel. The radiator also limits the overheating of the brake fluid. ​


The pads for street-legal bikes​

Brembo Z04 pads are a real Factory Pad also available for the most popular supersport bikes. However, these pads are not suitable for road use, even occasional use, because their low temperature efficiency is under that of than many other examples. The Z04s have much higher wear on the road than the latter. 

For anyone who only uses their bike on the road, Brembo has four versions available: the organic CC for softer and more modulated braking, the sintered SP (specifically for the rear wheel), SA and LA. The highest performing of these is the SA, identified by its red paint, with friction coefficient that increases as the pad heats up. The SA also performs reasonably well in occasional track use. ​

To remove any doubt about the right brake pads for your bike, check out our special report.



Two-thirds of the race with no brakes​

The eight braking sections on each lap are the lowest figure in the World Superbike Championship. On the other hand, the overall braking time of 28.7 seconds per lap is higher than on other tracks, from Misano Adriatico to Assen and Estoril. Due to one of the shortest tracks in the World Championship, the brakes are in use for 33 per cent of the race, lower only than the Jerez figure. 

Donington Park Circuit and Circuito de Jerez Angel Nieto are the only circuits in the 2021 World Championship that do not even have 1.5g (0.053 oz) deceleration braking. Braking distances also do not hit the peaks of other tracks: in no case do they exceed 210 metres (230 yards). In contrast, the Donington Park Circuit has three braking sections where you have to use the brakes for over four seconds. ​



Thirteen bars but no beer​

Of the eight braking sections at Donington Park, three are considered highly demanding on the brakes. Another three are medium difficulty, while two are low difficulty. 

The most demanding braking of all is at Redgate Corner (turn 1): the Superbikes go from 259 km/h to 97 km/h i(161 mph to 60 mph) in 201 metres (220 yards), which they cover in 4.5 seconds. The deceleration is 1.4 g (0.05 oz), the load on the lever 6.2 kg (13.7 lbs) and the fluid's pressure 13.3 bar. ​