Round 3 of World Superbike at Portimão, according to Brembo


 A guide to the Brembo braking systems on production derived bikes, and their use on the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve


According to Brembo technicians, who work closely with 17 World Superbike riders, the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve is a fairly demanding circuit for the brakes. On a scale of 1 to 5, it earned a 3 on the difficulty index - on a par with Misano. 

Its continuous ascents and descents make it hard for the riders to calibrate the throttle-off moment, with the risk of arriving too late when coming downhill or braking too soon on upward stretches: the maximum slope on descents is 12% and on ascents 6%, while the cross slope is 8% in certain points. ​


The evolution of Brembo calipers ​ 

Since the very start of the Superbike World Championship in 1988, Brembo calipers have been the first choice of the main teams. At the beginning, they were in two pieces joined together with four screws. To overcome the rigidity limits and differing technical expansion rates of the aluminum of the calipers and screws, in the second half of the 1990s Brembo introduced monobloc axial brake calipers. 

A few years later, Brembo replaced its axial calipers with radial ones - more difficult to produce, but undoubtedly more incisive: there's less mechanical stress on radial calipers, which means less elastic deformation and therefore enhanced braking sensitivity. The current radial calipers are made of nickel-plated machined aluminum. ​


Brake use during Round 3 of World Superbike​

Notwithstanding the 15 bends, the Superbike World Championship riders use their brakes 10 times on each lap for a total of nearly 31 and a half seconds, in other words 31% of the total race time. It's only on two bends, however, that the braking system is used for more than 3 and a half seconds. 

The average of the maximum decelerations on the track is just 1 g, but the values vary a great deal according to the specific section: on three bends it's 0.8 g, but this figure can rise to 1.5 g in the most demanding braking point. The system pressure covers a wide range too: below 7 bar on five bends, but over 10 bar on another four. ​


The most demanding braking section of the Portimão Round​ 

Of the 10 braking points at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve Circuito de Jerez, only one is classified as highly demanding on the brakes, whereas 4 are of medium difficulty and the other 5 are light. 

The hardest of all of them is the first bend, which is one of the most demanding of the whole world championship: the Superbikes arrive at 313 km/h (194 mph) and lose 205 km/h (127 mph) thanks to the use of the brakes, dropping to 108 km/h (67 mph) in just 274 meters (899 mph). To obtain this result, the rider uses his brakes for 4.8 seconds, exerting a load of 6.5 kg (14.3 lbs) on the brake lever.​