DETROIT — Brembo engineers offer a guide to braking for this weekend’s MotoGP Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas to run at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, April 13-15.
After a week’s break after the sunny races in Portugal and the rain that dominated Sunday at the Argentinian GP, MotoGP starts up again from Austin in Texas. According to the Brembo technicians who work closely with all the MotoGP World Championship riders, Circuit of the Americas is a moderately demanding track for brakes.
On a scale of 1 to 5, it is rated 3 on the difficulty index thanks to the 1,207 meter (1,319 yard) long straight section between corners 11 and 12 which gives the brake system time to cool down. Marc Marquez should also be competing. It was here that 10 years ago, he became the youngest winner of a race in the premium class and snatched the record from Freddie Spencer.
U.S.A., a land of pleasure and work
An amusement park will be opened next year inside the circuit, near turns 19 and 20, with 27 different rides including some of the most adrenaline-pumping roller coasters in the world. The deceleration is similar to that of the fastest supercars in the world, many of which use Brembo carbon-ceramic discs and monobloc calipers.
Brembo has been operating in North America since 2009 with a plant and R&D center at Plymouth in Michigan. Brembo also has a disc machining plant and a caliper assembly plant at Homer alongside which a huge cast iron foundry was built in 2015 in order to offer the car manufacturers a dedicated and fully integrated production process.
Half the wheels but double the time
On every lap of the Circuit of the Americas, the MotoGP riders use their brakes 11 times, the same number as Formula 1 which takes 29 seconds less to complete a lap. The brakes in MotoGP are used for 36 seconds per lap and those of the single seaters for less than half that time, just under 17 seconds — since the braking force can be discharged on all four wheels.
The U.S. track alternates between high speeds, with two sections that exceed 300 km/h (186 mph) and slow turns where the motorcycles come onto four of these at under 70 km/h (43 mph). On the first 10 turns, the riders only experience deceleration of over 1.2G on the first one although this becomes more frequent on the subsequent turns. From the starting line to the checkered flag, each rider exerts a load on the brake lever of almost 900 kg (1,984 lbs.), higher, but only slightly, than the figures in the Portuguese and Argentinian GPs.
A 6-second long braking episode
Of the 11 braking sections on the Circuit of the Americas, four are classified as very demanding on the brakes, two are of medium difficulty and the other five are light.
The toughest of all is on Turn 12. The bikes reach 360 km/h (223.6 mph) and brake for 6.4 seconds to drop to 66 km/h (41 mph). The 316 meters (1036 feet) of braking constitute a force of 5.5 kg (12.1 lbs.) on the lever and deceleration of 2 Gs, whereas the pressure of the Brembo HTC 64T brake fluid reaches 10.5 bar.