Brembo developing bigger MotoGP brake discs after Barcelona test

Following productive running at the post-Barcelona MotoGP test, Brembo’s new and bigger brake discs will be used at this year’s Austria double-header to avoid a repeat of Maverick Vinales’s crash last year.

With the Red Bull Ring putting extreme demand on brakes, Brembo has designed a new system of ventilated carbon discs and pads using the larger 340mm brake discs, which have been upgraded with small holes to generate a ventilation that helps prevent rising temperatures and keeps it in the maximum working range of 700-800 degrees.

Brembo’s brake developments come after Vinales had to jump off his Yamaha midway through last year’s Styrian GP, having run out of brakes, which caused a red flag after his M1 caught fire in the inflatable barriers.

Although Yamaha initially claimed the crash was caused by a brake failure, it was later revealed in addition to not using the recommended brake discs from Brembo for the Red Bull Ring (Vinales was on the 320mm rather than the 340mm), the Spanish rider was also on already used and worn brake discs having not followed advice from the MotoGP brake supplier. 

In the Styrian GP Suzuki’s Joan Mir, who was leading before the red flag, was also running the small brake discs but did not suffer any problem.

Despite having no responsibility for the crash, Brembo has developed a new braking system to improve safety on demanding tracks like the Red Bull Ring, while the new parts are expected to also be used at the Motegi, Thailand and Sepang rounds later this season.

At the post-Barcelona MotoGP test on Monday, most riders had the opportunity to test them and give their feedback to the Brembo engineers.

"We have tested the new brakes for Austria, where they are subjected to great stress, and the feeling has been good, I liked them and of course I will use them there," Valentino Rossi said after the test.

A track engineer for one of the top MotoGP riders explained to Motorsport.com: “We tested these brakes for the first time this Monday. After the incident last year we need to have a temperature margin, they do not provide performance, they are only to improve safety.

"After testing them, we have seen that it gives us a safety margin before reaching 1000 degrees", which would be the limit the braking system can work at before the carbon disc can start to oscillate.

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360mm brake discs for 2022

With both speeds and braking demands increasing in MotoGP, Brembo is aiming to produce larger 360mm discs from 2022.

“With the maximum 340mm disc, MotoGP is reaching the limit,” Andrea Pellegrini, Brembo engineer and customer manager for MotoGP, told Motorsport.com.

“We have evolved the ventilation, the mass of the disc and the contact area is greater, with an air intake larger to cool it down. We have also worked on the geometry of the disc and the pads.

“In Austria, very high temperatures are reached in the system and there are very high-energy braking points. With these new discs we hope to be able to offer the same performance with a lower temperature range of use."

Brembo had already brought the new braking kits to the Qatar pre-season test, but given the Losail circuit’s characteristics and lesser demands on braking, the first representative test for the new brakes took place in Barcelona on Monday.

"Almost all the riders were able to test them on Monday, only two or three did not ride it. The general feedback has been very good,” Pellegrini said.

“Nowadays, practically all teams use 340mm discs, because MotoGP run more and more with aerodynamics, so greater stopping power is needed.

“Looking ahead to next year we are working on a larger disc, 360mm, that Dorna and IRTA will have to homologate.”

The size of the rims and the current design of the MotoGP front wheel would accommodate a 360mm disc, but it would the maximum size in the current configuration, so Brembo is aiming to be able to implement the larger brakes as early as 2022 to increase braking and improve the safety standards.

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