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GP Week : Issue 171
1000s COOK THE CARBONS UP ON TOUGHEST BRAKING TRACK Overheated discs “dangerous” – Dovizioso The combination of the added weight and sheer speed of the new-generation MotoGP bikes caused unexpected braking problems – and serious safety worries – at Motegi, a track that majority brake supplier Brembo had already warned was “maybe the most demanding on brakes”. In preparation they had replaced the usual carbon discs, limited to a maximum diameter of 320mm, with “high-mass” thicker units. But in spite of this special measure, performance was marginal at best, with riders complaining from the first day of practice all the way through to the race. High grip levels were also a factor: the track had been fully resurfaced again since last year ... when earthquake damage had already required partial resurfacing. The circuit layout is the main factor: Brembo citing “an abundance of second-gear cur ves with very intense braking, and the difficulty in cooling the brakes between one corner and another.” The second half of the circuit is worst, with one 77 km/h hairpin approached at more than 240 km/h followed after a steep downhill straight by a 91 km/h turn approached at more than 285. These two corners between them require almost eight full seconds of hard braking time (Brembo figures). Hayden described “the brakes fading” at the bottom of the back straight, where and several others ran straight into the gravel; Rossi spoke of “overheating the discs on the second part of the track.” Dovizioso was even more specific. Talking to Italian press, he described the lever becoming spongy and a loss of braking power, adding: “the situation is unusual, and may even be dangerous” . Hayden and Dovizioso both experienced poor brake performance early in the race, while Spies blamed brakes for his lap-two tumble. Engineers spoke of disc temperatures reaching and even exceeding 1,000 degrees C, while even in the daylight the glow of the discs was visible at certain points. MOTOGP >>> NEWS 9 GPWEEK.com // 9 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: