MotoGP at night in Qatar: watch out for the color of the discs


 After 16 years in a row as a venue for the opening round of the World Championship, the Qatar GP will be home to the second to last event of the season.

After 16 years in a row as a venue for the opening round of the World Championship, the Qatar GP will be home to the second to last event of the season. It had already been held in the fall in 2004 and 2005 but between September and October and it was always the fourth last GP race of the season.

According to the Brembo technicians who work closely with all 22 premium class riders, the Losail International Circuit is a moderately demanding circuit on the brakes. On a scale of 1 to 5, it is rated 3 on the difficulty index. When racing at night, you can admire the glow of the carbon fiber discs on the hardest braking sections, something that is usually disguised by sunlight.

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Brembo and MotoGP go from Europe to the rest of the world


The Qatar GP is the seventh GP in a row outside Europe, the first time this has ever happened in the history of the world championship. From 1949, the year when the world championship began, to 1960, all the races were held in the Old World. What changed history in 1961 was the start of the Argentinian GP even if the big names in GP 500 missed the event which at the time was both time consuming and expensive.

In 1961, just a few kilometers outside Bergamo, Brembo was founded and just like the World Championship it started out in Europe and then gradually extended its activity to the rest of the world. Today, Brembo is a multinational that operates in 15 countries in three different continents with 9 research labs and 31 production and business sites.


Seven braking moments in a row


The riders must use their brakes on 13 of the 16 turns at the Losail International Circuit: this is a record because the brakes are not used more than 11 times per lap on any other track. However, the 39 seconds that the brakes are used for on each turn is less than the 41 seconds of the Indian GP which is held on a track that is 400 meters (437 yards) shorter.

The brakes are always needed from turn 12 to turn 16 in the Qatar GP and if we add the first two turns after the start line to this, it means that the riders use them on 7 turns in a row. In the Sunday race, from start to finish each rider exerts a total load on the brake lever of almost 1250 kg (2755 lb), another season record.


From almost 350 km/h to 123 km/h (218 to 76 mph) in 5.4 seconds

Of the 13 braking sections at the Losail International Circuit, only one is classified as very demanding on the brakes, whereas 5 are of medium difficulty and 7 are light.

Due to the 1,068 m (3,503 foot) straight ahead of it, the braking section at the first turn after the finish line is one of the most difficult in the entire championship: without slipstream, the MotoGPs come onto it at 348 km/h (216 mph) and the riders slow down to 123 km/h (76.4 mph), exerting a 7 kg (15.5 lb) load on the brake lever.

To set up the corner, they brake for 5.4 seconds and cover a distance of 321 meters (351 yards).


And in the video games?

The darkness and lack of buildings around the track make the first turn at the Losail International Circuit complicated in the MotoGP video game.

The only point of reference is the left-hand side curb just after the green area: this is the signal to apply the brakes. Downshift three gears and lean into the corner continuing to brake and moving down another gear.

There is not much point in throttling up immediately because this is a corner where there is a risk you will have to go wide.