The 2016 MotoGP World Championship will make a stop at the Bugatti Circuit (France) for its fifth round this weekend, May 6-8.
Built in 1965 around the track used for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, this circuit held its first World Motorcycle Race in 1969. For years the location of the Championship alternated among the Bugatti, Paul Ricard and Nogaro tracks, but after improving safety conditions, Bugatti has continuously held the event since 2000.
The Bugatti circuit is 4.2 km long (2.6-miles), boasts 14 curves (9 to the right and 5 to the left) and comprises a main straightaway that measures 674 meters (2,200-feet).
Le Mans is a track that has a medium impact on the brakes. In spite of the fact that about 30% of the lap time is spent braking on this French circuit, the riders are able to effortlessly cool down the Brembo carbon brake discs thanks to the long straightaways.
To prevent the discs from cooling excessively, which could jeopardize the effectiveness of the brakes, larger diameter Brembo discs (340 mm) with a low band may be the most suitable solution for this track’s specifications. Indeed, this solution could guarantee the proper functioning range in terms of operating temperature and braking torque.
According to Brembo technicians, the Bugatti Circuit falls into the category of tracks that have a medium impact on the brakes. On a scale of one to five it earned a three on the difficulty index, the same result that the tracks at Losail, Austin and Termas de Rio Hondo scored.
Brake use during the GP
The Bugatti Circuit doesn’t let the bikes reach great maximum speeds (they peak at 316.6 km/h or 196 mph) because, with the exception of curves 1 (Dunlop turn) and 12, all of the other braking sections require the use of the brakes for at least 2 seconds. That means that the average deceleration for the GP is 1.15 g. Totalling all of the force applied to the brake lever during the entire GP (40 minutes), a rider reaches 1.2 tonnes, which is equivalent in weight to 7 1/2 motorcycles.
The most challenging stops
None of the nine braking sections on the Bugatti Circuit are classified as highly challenging on the brakes, but seven are of medium difficulty and two are less difficult. The most complex braking section is at curve 9 (Chemin aux Boeufs), precisely where Valentino Rossi overtook Marc Marquez last year and where there was contact between Marco Simoncelli and Dani Pedrosa in 2011. The riders come into the turn at 293 km/h, applying a load of 6.2 kg on the brake lever for 4 and a half seconds while braking for 245 meterss. Slightly less difficult, but still tough, is curve 8 (Garage Vert): the bikes go from 248 km/h to 81 km/h in 4.4 seconds. Of the two least challenging curves, Turn 12 requires braking in just 43 meters and 1.3 seconds with a load on the lever measuring 2.5 kg.
Brembo brakes have won the last 22 French GP races contended, including the 16 held uninterruptedly at the Bugatti Circuit. Spanish riders have won all of the last 4 races: leading the MotoGP category is Jorge Lorenzo.