Four months after racing at the Estoril Circuit, Superbike returns to Portugal for the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve round, Oct. 1-3. According to Brembo technicians, who work closely with 17 World Superbike riders, this circuit is moderately demanding on the brakes. On a scale of 1 to 5, it is rated three on the difficulty index.
Its continuous ascents and descents make it hard for riders to calibrate the throttle-off moment and risk arriving too late when going downhill or braking too early when going uphill. The maximum slope on descents is 12 percent and on ascents 6 percent, while the cross slope is 8 percent in some places.
2.1 percent carbon
Each rider has a choice of 338.5 mm (13.33 inches) or 336 mm (13.23 inches) diameter discs. The larger diameter means that more pressure can be exerted, but it also weighs more. As of this year, Brembo is also making the innovative ventilated steel disc available to the teams.
Carbon has been barred from Superbike since 1994 to limit costs. In fact, the discs are made of steel, even though regulations permit the use of carbon as long as it doesn’t account for more than 2.1 percent of the total disc weight. Alloys containing beryllium are also banned for the same reason.
High heat dissipation for street motorcycles, too
For street motorcycles, Brembo makes high performance discs that guarantee uncompromising performance, racing aesthetics and a significant reduction in weight compared to factory discs. The first option consists of Supersport discs, available with a 34 mm (1.34 inches) braking band and a thickness of 5.5 mm (0.22 inches), thicker than the standard ones.
These are entirely floating discs, thanks to the band in thermally treated martensitic steel and the housing in billet aluminum alloy. The two parts are connected by 10 fastener studs and this ensures less wear and greater heat dissipation because the braking band is free to warp.
More force needed than MotoGP but for less time
Even if there are 15 corners, the World Superbike riders use their brakes 10 times on each lap, the same as for MotoGP, and the total amount of time they are used is also similar, 31.4 seconds per lap for the production-derived bikes, 32 seconds for the prototypes. However, on turns 7, 11 and 15 the length of time the Superbike brakes are used is longer than MotoGP.
The Superbikes, on the other hand, have a higher total load exerted on the brake lever per lap, 39.6 kg (87.3 lb.) compared with 32.2 kg (70.9 lbs.) for MotoGP bikes. Due to a higher number of laps in MotoGP though, the total load from the starting line to the checkered flag exceeds that of the Superbikes by 13 kg (28.6 lbs.). There is very little difference in the G force exerted by the riders in the two classes.
Speed reduced by one third in 274 meters (299.6 yards)
Of the 10 braking sections at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve, only one is classified as demanding on the brakes, four are of medium difficulty, and the remaining five are light.
As for MotoGP, the most demanding one is the first turn, one of the hardest in the entire world championship: the Superbikes come on to the bend at 310 km/h (192.6 mph) and after braking their speed drops by 202 km/h (125.5 mph) to 108 km/h (67.1 mph) in just 274 meters (299.6 yards). To do this, riders use their brakes for 4.8 seconds, exerting a load of 6.5 kg (14.33 lbs.) on the brake lever.