Brembo Unveils Round 9 of World Superbike in USA


 An in-depth look at the braking systems on the production-based motorcycles at Raceway Laguna Seca


The Superbike World Championship comes to the United States: from July 12th to 14th, Laguna Seca Raceway will host the 9th Round of the World Championship. Situated on the Monterey peninsula, 150 km (93 miles) from San Francisco, the circuit was inaugurated on November 9th 1957 with a race won by a 500 TR Ferrari. ​

The track has changed 6 times from its inauguration but the latest version has not changed since 1996. Its distinctive feature is the continuous slope variations in gradient, from the well-known Corkscrew, a rapid left-right turn with an 18 meter (59 feet) drop in only 137 meters (449 feet). Basically it is as if the motorcycles are jumping off of a 5-story building. ​

The track's extreme windiness and the lack of long straights prevents the Superbikes from reaching speeds of up to 270 km/h (168 mph), which are instead exceeded on all the other 12 World Championship tracks. This results in lots of moderate braking, except for the second bend, the only one where the brakes are used for more than 4 seconds.​

According to Brembo technicians, who work closely with 15 World Superbike riders, Laguna Seca Raceway is an averagely demanding circuit for the brakes. On a scale from 1 to 5 it has been given a difficulty level of 3, the same as the one of the tracks that will host the next Round, that is Portimão. ​

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The demand on the brakes during the GP

Though this is the World Championship's shortest track (3,610 meters, 2.24 miles), brakes have to be used 10 times in each lap: the same amount as Aragon which is 5,077 meters (3.15 miles) long. Laguna Seca also has the lowest lap time of the World Championship, with a total braking time of over 26 seconds per lap. ​

Consequently the braking system is in action for 31 per cent of the racing time. 


Half of the 10 braking distances on the Laguna Seca Raceway are less than 100 meters (328 feet) and only one exceeds 180 meters (591 feet). ​

The average deceleration is 1.​13 G thanks to 3 bends with 1 G​. ​

The total force exerted by a rider on the brake lever from the start to the checkered flag is almost 1,100 kilos (2,425 lbs). ​


The most demanding braking sections

Out of the 10 braking areas of the Laguna Seca Raceway only three are considered highly demanding on the brakes, 6 are of medium difficulty and one is light. The most demanding of all is the Andretti Hairpin (turn 2) because besides being the fastest point on the circuit it is also on a slight downslope: the Superbikes reach it at 256 km/h (159 mph) and brake for 4.4 seconds to slow to 74 km/h (46 mph). ​

They manage to do so in just 182 meters (597 feet). MotoGP motorbikes can brake in a shorted space thanks to carbon discs, but the Superbikes can only use steel discs with 2% carbon. The riders put 4.5 kg (9.9 lbs) pressure on the brake lever and are subjected to a 1.3 G​ deceleration. ​

At that point the pressure of Brembo liquid in the braking system touches 9.6 bar. The braking section at turn 5 is also very long: 150 meters (492 feet) to come down from 232 km/h (144 mph) to 105 km/h (65 mph). ​ 

The pressure of the braking liquid is however 8.5 bar, less than 10.9 bar at turn 7 where the entry speed (231 km/h, 144 mph) and the end of braking speed (137 km/h, 85 mph) are greater. ​

The Corkscrew deserves a special mention, the scene of famous passes of Casey Stoner by Valentino Rossi, and of Rossi by Marc Marquez. The Superbikes enter the corner at 130 km/h (81 mph) and brake for 59 meters (194 feet) to reduce their speed to 71 km/h in 2.​1 seconds. The pressure on the brake lever this time is 3.8 kg (8.4 lbs). ​



Brembo performance

Since the Superbikes returned to Laguna Seca Raceway in 2013, bikes with Brembo brakes have never failed to win: 7 wins for Kawasaki, 3 for Ducati and 2 for Aprilia. 


In total Ducati have won 13 races, but only two riders have won two in a row: Ben Bostrom in 2001 and Chaz Davies in 2015.