The Qatar MotoGP according to Brembo


 An in-depth look at the demand on the queen class braking systems at the Losail circuit

From 18 to 20 March, the 2016 MotoGP World Championship opens at the Losail International Circuit in Doha (Qatar).
This Asian circuit was used for the first time at the 2004 World Championship. Four years later it became the first track in the world to host a MotoGP night race.

As a night race, the right circumstances are present for noticing the carbon brake discs that turn white-hot on the most violent braking sections. This phenomenon, even though it occurs quite frequently, is not visible during the course of the other GP races because the sun's light makes the chromatic variation of the discs under this thermal stress much less noticeable.

According to the Brembo technicians, the Losail International Circuit falls into the category of medium difficulty for the brakes. On a scale of 1 to 5, it deserves a 3 on the difficulty index, which is exactly the same score that eight other tracks received, including those that will host the 2nd (GP of the Americas) and 3rd (Argentine GP) seasonal races.


Brake use during the GP

Although it has 8 braking sections per lap (a championship record shared with 6 other tracks), the time spent braking is just 18% of the overall duration of the race, which is one of the lowest in the World Championship. During the entire GP, each rider has to brake 176 times, a number that is identical to the Czech Republic GP but is one-third lower than that of the Valencia GP, which holds the season high. The average deceleration (1.25 g) on the other hand, counts among the four lowest in the World Championship.

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The most challenging braking zones

Of the eight braking sections on the Losail International Circuit in Doha, only one is classified as challenging on the brakes. The other six are of medium difficulty and the rest have just a slight impact on the braking systems.

The first turn after the finish line is not just the most complex in the race, but it is also one of the most difficult in the World Championship overall: arriving at about 350 km/h, the riders slow down to 106 km/h, applying 8 kg of pressure on the brake lever. A difference of 244 km/h is the record for MotoGP.

The six medium-difficulty turns each have different characteristics: turn 15 stands out for its 266 metres of  braking space compared to 146 metres at turn 6 and 148 metres at turn 2.The riders grip the brakes for 3 seconds at turn 4, while at turn 6 and turn 16, they hold down the brakes for 4.5 seconds. Turn 7 is half-way between these two figures.

The least challenging turn on the track is number 10, which is distinguished by about 68 km/h of braking.


Brembo Victories

In Qatar, Brembo brakes won all of the 12 races contended up to now. On the other hand, since 1996, all of the queen class races were won by bikes with Brembo brakes (link to the history). The Qatar circuit smiles down on Yamaha, six-time winner there, while Ducati and Honda each took three titles. Amongst the triumphant riders are Valentino Rossi and Casey Stoner, who have each won four times.