Silverstone, the longest circuit of the season for the bikes, too
Forty years since its debut in the 500cc class at Silverstone Circuit, the MotoGP (where the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team, Rossi and Viñales, is sponsored by BMC) is back on the British track for the 12th race of the season. Compared to 2016, the event is being held one week early: it is on the calendar from August 25 to 27.
Forty years since its debut in the 500 cc class at Silverstone Circuit, the MotoGP is back on the British track for the 12th race of the season. Compared to 2016, the event is being held one week early: it is on the calendar for August 25 to 27.
Built after World War II on an abandoned airport, the track is located just outside the town of Silverstone (currently 2,100 inhabitants) and was the stage for the inaugural GP race in the 1950 World Formula 1 Championship. The World Championship bikes didn't arrive until 1977 because the British MotoGP had previously been held on the Isle of Man.
The track used by the MotoGP bikes measures 5,9 km long, which makes it the longest circuit in the World Championship. Another distinguishing feature of the track is the rain that falls at least once over the course of the weekend. In 2015, the rain influenced the race that Valentino Rossi won and the year before, the Q2 was run under an out-and-out cloud burst.
While the MotoGP riders have relied on steel discs when it rained in the past, that doesn't necessarily mean they'll do so again this year. As demonstrated in the final laps at Assen, Brembo's latest generation of carbon discs seem to work well on a wet track too.
The demand on the brakes during the GP
According to Brembo technicians, who assist 100% of the 2017 MotoGP pilots, Silverstone Circuit is fairly demanding on the brakes. On a scale of 1 to 5, it earned a 3 on the difficulty index, the same score given to the Misano Adriatico and Valencia tracks where races are still to be contested this year.
Out of the 18 corners on the circuit, there are 10 braking sections. On seven of these, the brakes are used for more than three seconds. On one full lap, the MotoGP riders apply their brakes for 34 seconds, which totals 11 minutes over the course of the entire race. In other words, each bike travels a total of 32 km with the braking system at full throttle.
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 969 kg, which, practically speaking, comes to a force of 25 kg for every minute of the race.
The average peak deceleration of the MotoGP bikes on this track is 1.11 G, a value that would be higher without the three corners where the deceleration measures just 0.6 - 0.7 G. In spite of this, the average deceleration of the MotoGP bikes at the British GP is higher than the 0.1 G of a Tesla Model X.
The most demanding braking sections
Of the 10 braking sections at Silverstone Circuit, two are classified as very demanding on the brakes, five are of medium difficulty and the remaining three are light.
Even though it isn't where the bikes brake for the longest distance, the Stowe corner (turn 7) is the most challenging as far as the effort required by the riders and the braking system. To reach a delta of 201 km/h, going from 326 to 125 mph, the load on the lever weighs 6.8 kg and the pressure on the Brembo HTC 64T brake fluid reaches 11.8 bar.
The Brooklands corner (turn 16) is where the riders brake the longest in terms of distance (269 meter) and time (5 seconds). The MotoGP bikes slow down from 294 km/h to 104 km/h by applying a 6.2 kg load on the lever, while the pressure on the Brembo brake fluid reaches 10.7 bar.
For both of these and for the Copse corner (turn 1), the average peak deceleration is 1.5 G. The pilots enter the corner after the starting line going faster (143 km/h) than what is recorded for the other two corners, which is why the brakes are only used for 3.5 seconds.
The tyres situation
Michelin will make its first departure from mainland Europe since the American GP in April as it travels over the English Channel and heads to Silverstone for the Octo British Grand Prix and round 12 of the MotoGP™ World Championship.
The British Grand Prix is held on the longest and one of the fastest tracks on the calendar, the 18-corner layout over 5,900m is a true test for riders and manufacturers and one that will see tyres and machines pushed to the limit. The fast, flowing and technical nature of the layout through such famous turns as Woodcote, Luffield, Copse and Stowe make this a track that riders enjoy because they can use the full potential of their bikes. To give the racers the opportunity to get the performance they need on this medium-abrasive circuit Michelin will provide tyres aimed at getting the best drive, grip and braking stability for this demanding event. The Michelin Power Slick range will feature soft, medium and hard compound tyres for both the front and rear, with the front soft and all the rears having an asymmetrical design to cope with the 10-right-hand turns and 8-left. The right-side of the tyre will be a harder compound, with the softer shoulder on the left designed to warm-up quicker and give the riders the feel and confidence to put the power down on to the asphalt.
Silverstone is based in the rolling countryside of Northamptonshire in the heart of England, its location makes it one of the most northerly races of the season – only Assen is further up the globe – and this position and the time of the year the race is staged, means that wet weather is always a threat. The Michelin Power Rain tyres will be available in extra soft and soft compounds for both the front and rear, all of them being symmetrical in design.
The analysis of…
Piero Taramasso – Michelin Motorsport Two-Wheel Manager
“Silverstone is one of the fastest tracks on the calendar and gives the riders one of the few opportunities to fully open-up a MotoGP bike. This puts special demands on the tyres and when it is added to the 10-right and 8-left corners it makes for a very technical circuit, which needs some special attention to produce a good lap. It’s also very open, with little elevation, so wind can be an issue and it can make the track surface quite cool, and as always, we have the threat of changeable weather in England, so we must be prepared for all eventualities, because it has also been known to be very hot at Silverstone at this time of the year. We believe our range of tyres will be ideally suited to the track’s layout, and its asphalt, and look forward to our first oversea trip since we went to America!”.
Curiosities & info about Silverstone Circuit
326 km/h the maximum speed, before the turn 7
269 meters the longest stopping distance at turn 16
34 seconds the time spent to brake during every lap
10 number of brake zones/lap