Brembo engineers offer a guide to braking for this weekend’s MotoGP Guru by Gryphyn Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix to run at Phillip Island, Oct. 20-22.
A change of continent for MotoGP which is moving to Oceania for the fifth to last round of the season. According to the Brembo technicians who work closely with all the MotoGP riders, Phillip Island is one of the less demanding circuits on the brakes. On a scale of 1 to 6, it is rated 1 on the difficulty index.
Located on an island of the same name 140 km (87 mi) from Melbourne, it is the closest circuit to the South Pole in the entire championship at 38 degrees south latitude. To keep the brakes at a suitable initial temperature, the MotoGPs often use carbon covers, the same ones that are used on other circuits if it rains.
Twenty-six GPs have been held at Phillip Island and there have been 25 wins, consecutive ones, in the premium class for motorcycles with Brembo brakes. The home riders have made a massive contribution including Wayne Gardner, Mick Doohan and Casey Stoner who won six years in a row from 2007 to 2012, the first four editions with Ducati and the last two with Honda.
Stoner used his rear brake a lot during acceleration relying exclusively on his sixth sense at a time when motorcycle electronics were not very advanced. It made an incredible difference on Turn 3 at Phillip Island where he would skid his motorbike before coming into the turn by using the rear brake. In this way, he was able to move further to the left than his rivals and could brake with the motorcycle straight on Turn 4, eliminating a lot of the risks.
Phillip Island just like Silverstone
The riders use their brakes on half of the 12 turns on the Australian track, including three of the first four after the start. On a full lap at Phillip Island, the brake system is used for 20 seconds which amounts to 23 percent of the duration of the race. The absolute value and percentage are only lower at Silverstone even if the British track is one and a half kilometers (0.9 mi) longer.
Summing up all of the force applied by a rider on the brake lever from start to finish in the Australian GP, the result is only 640 kilos (1,410 lbs.), the second lowest value in the entire championship after the British GP. This, combined with its close vicinity to the icy waters of the Pacific Ocean, can affect how the carbon discs work since they risk not reaching the minimum working temperature.
152 km/h (94.4 mph) less in 3.6 seconds
Of the six braking sections at Phillip Island, none are considered very demanding on the brakes, three are of medium difficulty and three are light.
With its 255 meters (278 yards) of braking distance, the first turn after the finish line is the hardest on the brake system: the MotoGPs go from 346 km/h to 194 km/h (214 to 120 mph) in 3.6 seconds during which time the riders exert a force of 4.7 kg (10.3 lbs.) on the brake lever and are subjected to 1.7 G deceleration.
And what about the video games?
To tackle the corner at Phillip Island named after Mick Doohan in the MotoGP video game correctly, you must move gradually onto the straight from the right to the left of the track. The lack of reference points around the track makes identifying the braking point complicated.
However, if you are observant, you will see that the left curb changes color at a certain point and has a clear black mark: this is the sign to put the brakes on and lean into the corner without overdoing deceleration.