Brembo unveils the 2019 French MotoGP


 An in-depth look at the premium class' use of braking systems at the Circuit of Le Mans


From 17 to 19 May, the Le Mans Bugatti Circuit (France) will host the 5th event in the 2019 MotoGP World Championship.​

The French circuit was built in 1965 around the 24 Hour of Le Mans track, with which it shares a third of the track. Named for Ettore Bugatti, the circuit hosted the 500cc class of the World Championship for the first time in 1969, but it has been a permanent site of the French GP only since 2000. ​

The track is almost 4.2 km long, the straightaway at the arrival is only 674 meters (0.4 miles) long but since there are lots of other straightaways, the riders can easily cool down their Brembo carbon discs. To ward off the opposite risk, many of the riders will probably adopt brake discs with a low braking surface.


Brembo has made carbon discs available to all the riders. These discs come with a diameter of 320 mm and 340 mm, and with a high and low surface to ensure the right range of operation, in terms of temperature, on every stretch of the track.​

More specifically, the 340 mm discs with a low braking surface have similar thermal properties as the 320 mm discs with a high surface, but when the diameter of the disc is varied, it is possible to generate greater braking torque at the same operating pressure. ​

Even if it rains the riders should choose carbon discs aptly protected by custom covers that serve to guarantee the carbon discs the correct range of operation, in terms of temperature. ​

According to Brembo technicians, who for the fourth consecutive year are assisting all of the MotoGP riders, Circuit Le Mans presents a medium level of difficulty on the brakes. On a scale of 1 to 5, it earned a 3 on the difficulty index, the same score given to nine other tracks. ​


The demand on the brakes during the GP

Every lap, the riders turn to their brakes nine times for a total of 28 seconds, a statistic that is not to be scoffed at given this is the third shortest track in the World Championship: only Sachsenring and Valencia are shorter.​

The brakes are used for 30 % of the overall duration of the race. The 1.2 G average peak deceleration per lap is also significant and is higher than the deceleration experienced in a supercar like the Chevrolet Corvette Z06.

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 900 kg (1,984 lbs), the same figure reached at Aragon. Practically speaking, that means a rider has to apply about 22 kg (49 lbs) of force every minute of the race.

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The most demanding braking sections

Of the 9 braking sections at Circuit Bugatti, 3 are classified as demanding on the brakes, 3 are of medium difficulty, and the remaining 3 pose only a light challenge on the braking systems. ​

The two toughest corners are in numerical order (turns 8 and 9), although they are separated by a fairly long straightaway. The most difficult braking section is at turn 9: the MotoGP bikes enter the area at 292 km/h (181 mph) and brake for 4.3 seconds in 246 meters (807 feet) to decelerate to 104 km/h (65 mph). ​

At this point, the riders apply a load of 5.2 kg (11.5 lbs) on the brake lever and undergo a deceleration of 1.5 G. The 11.1 bar of pressure that the Brembo HTC 64 T brake fluid reaches is just as impressive.

Turn 8 is another challenge for the brakes, although the motorcycles enter it a bit slower. They go from 251 km/h (156 mph) to 76 km/h (47 mph) in 4.5 seconds in a space of 190 meters (623 feet).

Here too the deceleration is 1.5 G, but the load on the lever is "just" 5.1 kg (11.2 lbs). ​



Brembo performance

Brembo brakes have won the last 27 French GP races, including the 19 contested without interruption on Circuit Bugatti. Of the last seven races, Spanish riders won every time. Jorge Lorenzo holds the record for MotoGP with five victories, followed by Valentino Rossi with 3, but the last one was in 2008. 


The first rider to ever win on this track was Giacomo Agostini in 1969: at the time, Brembo brakes weren't being used in competition racing, but in the 1980s, the Italian rider chose Brembo brakes for the Yamaha team he managed in the 500cc class. ​