After the Italian GP, where Maverick Viñales was 2nd behind Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati), the MotoGP championship returns to Spain for the Catalan motorcycle Grand Prix, the 7th appointment of the 2017 World Championships, held from 9 to 11 June at the Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya. Of the 4 Iberian rounds, this is the real home race for Maverick Viñales, Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa, who grew up only a few miles from the track.
Currently Viñales and Valentino Rossi (both Movistar Yamaha MotoGP, sponsored by BMC) are, respectively, 1st and 3rd in the MotoGP world standing.
With a length 4,727 meters, it has 7 curves to the left and 9 to the right and boasts a main straight of 1,047 meters. Given the layout, in the past the Grand Prix motorcycles have set numerous speed records. Starting this year, after modifications to turns 14 and 15, the Grand Prix motorcycles will use the same layout as Formula 1.
Except for the long straight, all decelerations are sharp and in rapid succession. The asphalt temperature is particularly high and causes brake cooling problems. Therefore, the work temperatures of carbon discsandpads are rather high during the GP: However, thanks to Brembo's (who equips all MotoGP bikes) investment in materials and production processes over the past decade, the braking system is also fully effective at temperatures close to 800 degrees.
According to Brembo technicians, Catalunya falls into the category of highly challenging circuit for brakes. On a scale of 1 to 5 it earned a difficulty rating of 5, value reached only by the Red Bull Ring of Spielberg, Twin Ring of Motegi and Sepang International Circuit.
The demand on the brakes during the GP
Along with the track of Austin, the Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya is the only track of the first half of the Championship in which the GP bikes decrease speeds by 200 km\h when braking, twice every lap: in the first turn deceleration is 239 km\h while at turn 10 is it 205 km\h.
During each lap, pilots actuate the brakes 10 times for a total of half a minute per lap: even in Valencia, which totals 9 brakings per lap, pilots use the brakes 30 seconds per lap. On the Barcelona track, Formula 1 cars use brakes for less than 14 seconds. This means that brakes are used 28 of the time during the Catalan motorcycle Grand Prix and only 18 percent during the Spanish F.1 Grand Prix.
This is also due to the 4 brakings in which maximum deceleration is shy of 1 g; average deceleration of the Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya is around 1.08 g. Only Sepang, Aragon, Jerez and Austin have lower values. As is fairly obvious, in Barcelona instead Formula 1 deceleration reaches 4.2 g.
Summing up all of the force applied by a rider on the Brembo brake lever from the starting line to the checkered flag, the result comes in at more than 1000 kg., at each lap pilots are required to exert a force of 41 kg., which is considerable given the high ambient temperatures in which they race.
The most demanding braking sections
The most difficult braking section is at first turn: the GP bikes hit the turn at 340 km\h and enter it at 101 km\h after traveling 285 meters in deceleration. Interestingly, Formula 1 cars reach the braking section at a lower speed, “only” 324 km\h but enter the turn at 151 km/h, a speed obtained after only 50 meters of deceleration.
In order to complete the braking section, GP pilots hit the brakes for 5.1 seconds and exert a force of 6,7 kg. on the lever. The 1.5 g of deceleration beats the deceleration of the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio from 200 km\h to 0 km\h by 0.35 g. The pressure of Brembo HTC 64T brake fluid tops at 11,6 bar.
The riders also take a taste of 1.5 g in deceleration also at turn 10. Speed plummets from 267 km\h to 62 km\h in 5,1 seconds and 220 meters. At that moment, the force on the lever is 6,4 kg. and the pressure of the brake fluid is 11 bar.
Bend 7 is the most demanding turn out of those ranked for average difficulty. GP bikes go from 230 km\h to 104 km\h in a mere 154 meters and 3.4 seconds. The brutality of this deceleration is felt by the 1.4 g experienced by the riders.
Curiosities & info about Barcelona circuit
1,047 meters the length of the main straight
340 km/h the maximum speed before the turn 1
285 meters the stopping distance at turn 1
7 right corners
9 left corners