Mugello staged its first motorcycle Grand Prix in 1976 and the stunning mountain setting gives the circuit a special atmosphere, which is heightened by the fervent and patriotic supporters that congregate on the banks and in the grandstands around the track. The 5,245m layout features an inviting recipe of fast and slow turns, elevation changes, sweeping curves and one of the fastest straights in MotoGP, which can see riders hit speeds more than 350km/h as they exit the last corner on to the start/finish straight. Heavy braking and off-camber turns are also features of this challenging circuit and makes the set-up of the bike, and the demands on the tyres, a complicated and demanding science.
Tyres, both symmetric and asymmetric designs
To cope with the requirements of the circuit Michelin will bring a range of tyres with compounds suited to the asphalt. This means the rear Michelin Power Slicks will feature both symmetric and asymmetric designs. The soft (white band) will have the single compound across its design, while the medium (no band) and hard (yellow band) will have a harder righthand-side designed to give increased grip and durability throughout the race. All these tyres will need to work very hard to give the best performance as the riders load the power coming out of the slower corners and through the faster bends where edge grip is pushed to the extreme.
Front Michelin Power slicks with a stiffer construction
For the first time this season the front Michelin Power slicks will feature a stiffer construction. This has been introduced following the recent test at Jerez in Spain where a comparison assessment was conducted between this tyre and the current incarnation of front tyre. After this test the riders were consulted on their preference and a majority chose to go with the stiffer construction. This different carcass will be available in a soft (white band), medium (no band) and hard (yellow band) compounds and this will be the direction of the construction as the season progresses. The medium will be an asymmetric design with the right-hand shoulder having a harder compound. To finalise the collection will be the MICHELIN Power Rain tyres in a soft (blue band) and medium (no band) compound, but with conditions usually dry at this time of year in Mugello, there will hopefully be no need to put these tyres into operation.
The demand on the brakes during the GP
In all, the MotoGP riders use their Brembo brakes 10 times per lap, for a total of 28 seconds, which translates into 26 percent of the entire race. Of all the Grand Prix races held this year, this is the lowest percentage: at Jerez, this value was 33 percent and at Le Mans it was 32 percent.
Affected by 6 braking sections where maximum deceleration is at least 1.3 g, average deceleration is 1.15 g, identical to the values at Assen and Brno. Adding up all of the force a rider applies on the brake lever from the starting line to the checkered flag, the result comes in at more than 1 ton, the fourth lowest in the entire championship. At Losail, Jerez and Valencia, on the other hand, the total load is 1.4 tons. In any case, during one lap at Mugello, the riders apply a force of almost 92.5 lbs on the brake lever.
The most demanding braking sections
Of the 10 braking sections on the Mugello Circuit, only one is classified as demanding on the brakes, whereas 5 are of medium difficulty, and the remaining 4 pose only a light challenge on the braking systems.
The most difficult braking section is the San Donato corner (turn 1): at the end of a downhill section, the MotoGP bikes arrive at 220 mph (a bit faster with the slipstream) and enter the corner at 56 mph. To manage this, the riders brake for 5.2 seconds, during which they travel 315 yards. The deceleration is brutal - 1.5 g and it exceeds the 0.18 g of the Porsche 911 GT3. The load on the lever is 11.9 lbs and the Brembo HTC 64T brake fluid pressure reaches 134.9 psi.
That pressure reaches 137.8 psi on turns 10 (Scarperia) and 12 (Correntaio), which is equal to three times the pressure of a bottle of sparkling wine: in both cases, the bikes arrive at less than 149 mph and brake for less than 4 seconds, but the load on the lever is still 12.1 lbs.
Noteworthy are the 220.9 yards of braking at turn 15 (Bucine) due to its downhill configuration: the MotoGP bikes go from 164.7 mph to 67.1 mph in 4.2 seconds and maximum deceleration touches 1.5 g.
Curiosities & info about Mugello circuit
1,141 meters the longest straights on the Championship calendar
355 km/h the maximum speed
288 meters the stopping distance at San Donato turn (1)
9 right corners
6 left corners
10 number of brake zones/lap