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How MotoGP brakes work: Secrets and techniques of stopping a 220mph bike

The bikes’ 1000cc engines produce 270hp but their tiny contact patches and lack of downforce relative to cars costs them dearly in lap time when compared to a Formula 1 machine. For example, Valtteri Bottas lapped his 2019 F1 Mercedes in 1m32.029s in qualifying for the US Grand Prix at Austin’s Circuit of the Americas

How MotoGP brakes work: Secrets and techniques of stopping a 220mph bike

The bikes’ 1000cc engines produce 270hp however their tiny contact patches and lack of downforce relative to vehicles prices them dearly in lap time when in comparison with a Method 1 machine.

For instance, Valtteri Bottas lapped his 2019 F1 Mercedes in 1m32.029s in qualifying for the US Grand Prix at Austin’s Circuit of the Americas, in contrast with Maverick Vinales’ 2m00.864s in MotoGP qualifying there in 2024.

Nonetheless, a couple of years in the past Purple Bull pitted Dani Pedrosa’s KTM RC16 in opposition to Liam Lawson in an RB8 over 1 / 4 of a mile from a standing begin, and the bike received hands-down – primarily because of its superior power-to-weight ratio (the RB8 weighing in at 640kg in comparison with the KTM’s 157kg).

Their slim nature additionally means little or no drag, permitting MotoGP bikes to max out at round that 220mph mark. Which is all nicely and good in a straight line, however how do you get them slowed down for the twisty bits?

MotoGP disc brake detail

MotoGP disc brake element

Photograph by: Brembo

What’s the expertise behind MotoGP brakes & who makes them?

For the ninth season working, Italian-based Brembo provides all 22 MotoGP riders with a fully-customized braking system and repair. The parts of the system are brake calipers, carbon and metal discs, grasp cylinders, clutch pumps and pads.

Its monobloc caliper, known as the GP4, is machined from a strong piece of aluminum. It options an amplification system that permits the braking torque to be elevated, which signifies that the rider will get higher profit from making use of the identical strain to the brake lever.

In the meantime, a spring machine on the anti-drag system reduces the residual torque and stops the pads and discs coming into contact with one another.

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Immense stopping energy is generated by way of carbon entrance discs: Brembo affords completely different diameter sizes and every is accessible in three materials specs – finned, excessive mass and normal. A smaller diameter metal disc is used on the rear, as engine braking assists with the method on that finish.

MotoGP disc brake options

MotoGP disc brake choices

Photograph by: Brembo

In the course of the season, most riders use 340mm diameter carbon discs, splitting between excessive mass (for higher-end necessities) and normal mass (low finish) – with 320mm additionally accessible. Ventilated disc options, one possibility with a diameter of 355mm, can be found for extra demanding circuits corresponding to Spielberg, Buddh, Motegi, Buriram and Sepang.

The thickness of the discs, no matter diameter, is 8mm, whereas their weight varies between 1kg and 1.4kg relying on the diameter and specification used.

So which means MotoGP brakes are literally bigger, by way of diameter, than an F1 automotive’s however far thinner (F1 brakes are 32mm large). Total, between entrance and rear wheels, the MotoGP braking system weighs about 5.5kg in complete.

The working temperature of a MotoGP carbon disc should be between 250°C and 850°C. As compared, the metal discs that Brembo makes for Moto2 and Moto3 function between 100°C and 650°C.

Jorge Martin, Pramac Racing

Jorge Martin, Pramac Racing

Photograph by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

How rapidly can a MotoGP bike decelerate?

MotoGP bikes weigh 157kg and, together with their jockey-sized riders, they’ll decelerate at simply over 1.5g. Let’s have a look at a real-world state of affairs, ultimately weekend’s Grand Prix of the Americas at COTA.

The largest cease at that circuit – which is assessed as ‘medium’ by way of braking effort, at 26% of the entire lap spent slowing down – is on the finish of the again straight. The strategy pace on the again straight to Flip 12 is 338km/h – near their most velocity of 220mph in imperial measures – and the minimal nook pace is 65km/h.

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It requires a 293-meter stopping distance, which takes 5.8s. The brake strain required is 12.5 bar (NOTE: One bar is roughly the atmospheric strain on Earth at an altitude of 111 metres at 15°C), and the utmost braking energy is 120kW x 2.

MotoGP carbon disc brake detail

MotoGP carbon disc brake element

Photograph by: Brembo

“The half the place the carbon disc is best is when the warmth dissipation takes place,” says Brembo’s MotoGP race engineer Mattia Tombolan. “Because of the properties of the carbon materials itself, it might probably soak up much more warmth than a metal disc, however it might probably additionally dissipate it in a short time.

“To have that very same stage of dissipation with metal, you’d want a really large disc which might be loads heavier. And the load has a huge effect on the maneuverability of the bike.”

The dimensions of a carbon disc additionally has a knock-on impact by means of the remainder of the system.

“Trying on the dimension of the disc, this has a direct affect on the braking torque utilized by the rider,” he provides. “A bigger disc additionally generates a higher gyroscopic impact that hampers a motorcycle and rider’s capacity to vary course.

“If I’m placing the identical strain on the grasp cylinder, if I’ve an even bigger disc, with the next radius with larger momentum, I’ll put larger braking torque. So, the rider will really feel he has to place much less strain to succeed in the braking power he desires.

“However, a smaller disc means a rider has to place far more strain – so it relies on the rider desire.”

MotoGP disc brake detail

MotoGP disc brake element

Photograph by: Brembo

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Though the science is identical because the braking programs in F1, the way in which the pilot initiates the interface – in F1’s case, stamping on the left pedal with enormous power – is completely completely different.

“If you put over 100 bar along with your foot, you’re additionally utilizing the deceleration of the machine that can assist you,” says Tombolan. “In MotoGP, you’re speaking between 10 and 15 bar, making use of that along with your fingers.

“I might say the sensation of a MotoGP rider is extra vital, and don’t overlook the rider can also be shifting round on the bike, they don’t seem to be strapped in. So, I’d say the rider suggestions is much more vital in terms of the engineering half, to translate the sensation of the rider and never simply the numbers.

“It’s fairly tough, in MotoGP you really want to construct a relationship with the rider and crew chief to tune the bike from the braking facet.”

Miguel Oliveira, Trackhouse Racing Team

Miguel Oliveira, Trackhouse Racing Group

Photograph by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

The MotoGP rider’s information to braking

Trackhouse Racing’s Miguel Oliveira has been racing in MotoGP since 2019 and has 5 wins to his title within the premier class.

The 29-year-old Portuguese rider, who has received races with each the manufacturing facility and Tech3 KTM groups, now rides an Aprilia for the American-owned squad.

He explains what it’s wish to experience certainly one of these 220mph machines, and to find the place the restrict is to sluggish them down from their high pace right into a 35mph hairpin bend.

“The primary query by way of the braking is: What’s 100%?” he asks rhetorically. “It’s a must to discover the restrict. And often our restrict on the braking strategy is when the rear lifts off the bottom.

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“At any time when the rear tire lifts, or the entrance is locking, that’s the place I really feel the restrict and alter the brake strain, to maintain as a lot strain as doable however with out going over that restrict all through the entire braking part.

“As you see these days, there’s not that a lot benefit to maintain the bike straight for braking. We are attempting to make use of all of the aero, all the rear tire, to cease.

“When it comes to the rear brake utilization, we attempt to preserve it to a minimal, to let the engine braking work extra successfully – but it surely relies on the bike, and the electronics. We do alter it loads.

Miguel Oliveira, Trackhouse Racing Team

Miguel Oliveira, Trackhouse Racing Group

Photograph by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

“We work onerous on the nook entry, so we use that to maintain lowering the pace when we have to. After all, you can’t preserve a lot strain whenever you’re in that [entry] part of braking into the nook, in order that’s the place we particularly use the rear brake.

“Along with the engine braking, and the rear brake, you attempt to work the steadiness to not be too sharp or aggressive as you rotate the bike into the nook, in any other case you overload the entrance finish and that’s when you possibly can lose the entrance.”

Not like others, Oliveira doesn’t use a thumb-controlled rear brake: “I want to make use of the foot, as a result of I can use extra strain utilizing my foot,” he explains.

If you watch F1 you’ll typically see drivers locking up their entrance wheels on the strategy to a nook. In MotoGP, this additionally occurs, however it’s a lot much less apparent to the watching eye…

“You are feeling it fairly simply,” he says. “When it occurs, you let it slide somewhat bit, you don’t launch the brake instantly, you possibly can let the bike slide somewhat on a locked entrance – but it surely’s actually a sense that you simply get used to, and also you react to it fairly naturally.”

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Miguel Oliveira, Trackhouse Racing Team

Miguel Oliveira, Trackhouse Racing Group

Photograph by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

And what of the power required on the lever, when you’ll want to make an enormous cease? As we talked about, F1 drivers generate enormous strain on the brake pedal within the cockpit through their foot – how concerning the levers in MotoGP?

“It’s not that tough, you already know,” he replies. “I feel it might be 11 to 12 kilos on the brake lever, to generate the sturdy braking energy you require.

“However the principle factor we have to think about is how a lot to make use of it within the race, how exact you’ll want to be at over 300km/h, the braking marks are what’s super-important, and probably the most tough factor is to maintain hitting them frequently in a race, when you may have tire degradation and lowering gasoline load. It’s not straightforward!”

Oliveira can also be a seven-time winner in Moto2 and six-time Moto3 race victor, so nicely positioned to check carbon versus metal entrance discs.

“It’s been a very long time since I rode with out these brakes!” he quips. “However as I bear in mind, it’s actually that first chew that you simply discover the massive distinction. With carbon brakes – bwoah! – you actually cease onerous whenever you first hit them.”

Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing

Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Manufacturing facility Racing

Photograph by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Why do MotoGP riders dangle their legs below braking?

And, lastly, how concerning the development of riders dangling their legs out into the airstream in the course of the braking part? What does that obtain?

“We primarily use it as drag for air resistance,” Oliveira explains. “We additionally use it as a solution to steadiness, to load the rear as a result of when you slide sideways, you kick your leg out and that creates an inwards and downwards centre of gravity, in order that lets you decelerate a bit too.”

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