Brembo unveils the 2019 Catalan MotoGP


 An in-depth look at the premium class' use of braking systems at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya


After France and Italy, MotoGP returns to Spain for the Catalan motorcycle Grand Prix, the 7th appointment of the 2019 World Championships, held from 14 to 16 June at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. ​

Of the 4 Iberian matches, this is the real home race for Maverick Viñales, Marc Marquez and Alex Rins, who grew up only a few miles from the track. The first stone of the circuit was laid in February 1989 and the track was inaugurated on September 10, 1991 with a car race of the Spanish Tourism Championship. ​

Class 500 took to the track in 1992 and 4 editions of the GP Europe were disputed there, which later adopted the current name of Catalan motorcycle Grand Prix. With a length 4,627 meters (2.88 miles), it has 5 curves to the left and 8 to the right and boasts a main straight of 1,047 meters (3,435 feet). ​

Given the layout, in the past the Grand Prix motorcycles have set numerous speed records. 

Except for the long straight, all decelerations are sharp and in rapid succession. The asphalt temperature is particularly high and causes brake cooling problems. Therefore, the work temperatures of carbon discs and pads are rather high during the GP: However, thanks to Brembo's investment in materials and production processes over the past decade, the braking system is also fully effective at temperatures close to 800 C degrees. ​



According to Brembo technicians who assist all MotoGP riders, the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya falls into the category of highly challenging circuit for brakes. On a scale of 1 to 5 it earned a difficulty rating of 5, value reached only by the Red Bull Ring, Twin Ring Motegi and Sepang International Circuit.


The demand on the brakes during the GP

Along with the track of Austin, the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya is the only track of the first half of the Championship in which the GP bikes decrease speeds by 200 km/h (124 mph) when braking, twice every lap: in the first turn deceleration is 239 km/h (149 mph) while at turn 10 is it 198 km/h (123 mph). ​

During each lap, pilots actuate the brakes 10 times for a total of 32 seconds per lap. On the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Formula 1 cars use brakes for less than 15 seconds. This means that brakes are used 32 % of the time during the Catalan motorcycle Grand Prix and only 19 percent during the Spanish F.1 Grand Prix.

This is also due to the 5 brakings in which maximum deceleration is shy of 1 G; average deceleration of the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya is around 1.04 G. Only Sachsenring and Austin have lower values. As is fairly obvious, in Barcelona instead Formula 1 deceleration reaches 4 G. ​

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 1,000 kg (2,205 lbs): at each lap pilots are required to exert a force of 42 kg (93 lbs)., which is considerable given the high ambient temperatures in which they race.​




The most demanding braking sections

Of the 10 braking sections at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, 4 are classified as demanding on the brakes, 2 are of medium difficulty, and the remaining 4 pose only a light challenge on the braking systems. Three of the light brakings are towards the end section of the track. ​

The most difficult braking section is at first turn: the GP bikes hit the turn at 340 km/h (211 mph) and enter it at 101 km/h (63 mph) after traveling 293 meters (961 feet) in deceleration. Interestingly, Formula 1 cars reach the braking section at a lower speed, “only” 325 km/h (202 mph) but enter the turn at 146 km/h (91 mph), a speed obtained after only 119 meters (390 feet) of deceleration. ​

In order to complete the braking section, GP pilots hit the brakes for 5.4 seconds and exert a force of 6.7 kg (14.8 lbs) on the lever. The 1.5 G of deceleration beats the deceleration of the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio from 200 km/h (124 mph) to 0 km\h by 0.35 G. The pressure of Brembo HTC 64T brake fluid tops at 14.3 bar.

The riders take a taste of 1.3 G in deceleration also at turn 10. Speed plummets from 264 km/h (164 mph) to 66 km/h (41 mph) in 5.3 seconds and 223 meters (732 feet). At that moment, the force on the lever is 5.6 kg (12.3 lbs) and the pressure of the brake fluid is 12.1 bar.

​Bend 7 is also a demanding turn. MotoGP bikes go from 231 km/h (144 mph) to 105 km/h (65 mph) in a mere 155 meters (509 feet) and 3.5 seconds. The brutality of this deceleration is felt by the 1.3 G experienced by the riders. ​​



Brembo performance

All 23 editions of the Catalan Grand Prix were won by bikes with Brembo brakes, as also the 4 editions of the Europe GP disputed on this track: 12 victories for Yamaha, 10 for Honda, 4 for Ducati and 1 for Suzuki. Valentino Rossi has claimed a total of 7 500-MotoGP victories, also winning the 250cc 2 times and the 125 once, and always using Brembo braking systems.