Portimao, Portugal

Brembo Engineer Andrea Bergami Interview, Part 2: "Moto2 Riders Are Now More Prepared For MotoGP Braking"

In the first part of the interview with Brembo engineer Andrea Bergami, we talked about the effect the holeshot devices and aerodynamics on MotoGP bikes, and how they have dramatically increased braking in the class, and we talked about the physical strain that is placing on the bodies of the riders.

In this second part, we continued our conversation about how the brakes have evolved over the past couple of years, how Moto2 is preparing riders better for entry into MotoGP, and how developments in racing are feeding into consumer components and road bikes. And Bergami explains in detail precisely what it is riders are looking for when it comes to braking.

First, Peter Bom and I asked about managing temperature in the brake discs. In the past, the difficulty with carbon discs was getting them up to temperature in the first place. With the additional cooling options for the discs – finned discs, finned calipers – was it hard to keep temperature in the brake discs?

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Brembo Engineer Andrea Bergami Interview, Part 1: "We Are Also Reaching The Human Limit"

A lot has changed in MotoGP over the last two years. Despite a freeze on engine development, and restrictions on aerodynamics development brought in at the start of the pandemic, the bikes are faster in 2022 than they were in 2019, the last time MotoGP had the same set of development rules.

Where has this extra speed come from? A huge amount has come from the introduction of ride-height devices. These contraptions, first trialed by Ducati at the end of 2018, have radically changed the way MotoGP bikes make their lap times. The devices lower the center of mass, helping to significantly reduce wheelie and improving acceleration. But they also change the way the bikes brake at the other end of a straight, changing the way the weight transfers and allowing for greater braking force.

To find out more about the way MotoGP has changed in the last couple of years, Peter Bom and myself interviewed Brembo engineer Andrea Bergami at the Portuguese Grand Prix in Portimão earlier this year. Bergami gave us some fascinating insights into how MotoGP bikes have evolved, the effect that is having on braking, and how Brembo is working to address and adapt to those changes. He also explained how he felt Moto2 was helping riders prepare for the jump to MotoGP, and the role of racing in development consumer products, which end up in the hands of riders on the street. We spoke at such length that this interview has been split into two parts.

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Piero Taramasso On Tire Pressure Transgressions And Planned Changes For 2023

The role of tire pressures, and especially for the front tire, has grown in importance in recent years, as aerodynamics and ride-height devices have made the front ever more sensitive to pressure and temperature changes. It is common to hear riders complain of temperatures and pressures skyrocketing after getting stuck behind other bikes, and kept out of the cooling air.

It is therefore not surprising that factories and teams try to manage tire pressures as carefully as possible. By lowering the pressure, they can keep tire temperatures lower and allow the riders to better manage the front tires over the duration of the race.

They have to be careful not to go too low with tire pressures, however: like all motorsports series with a spec tire, MotoGP has a minimum pressure for both front and rear tires: 1.9 bar front, 1.7 bar rear. Tire pressures are monitored by sensors and recorded by the spec datalogger, and pressures have to be over the minimum for at least half of the race.

Bending the rules

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Portimão Moto2 Chaos: Could The Red Flags Have Come Out Earlier?

It is the sight every MotoGP fan fears. At the start of lap 9 of the Moto2 race in Portimão, bike after bike went down, bikes firing through the gravel at stricken riders like unguided projectiles. We sat holding our breath until the crashing had stopped, and miraculously, no one had been struck by a bike, the MV Agusta of Simone Corsi having gone up in flames after hitting the Kalex of Zonta van den Goorbergh.

After the race, there was a great deal of debate about the crash. Ten riders had gone down at Turn 2, the leaders of the race the first to go. There was anger in some quarters at how slowly Race Direction appeared to bring out the red flags after the race. With so many bikes ending up in the gravel, and at high speed, it should have been stopped earlier, the critics said.

Should Race Direction have ordered a red flag earlier? To test that assertion, I went back and watched the incident several times, and dived into the analysis timesheet on the results page of the MotoGP.com website. Taking the timestamp from the video of the race on MotoGP.com, I timed how long it took for the red flags to come out.

A matter of seconds

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Portimão MotoGP Subscriber Notes: When The Rider Makes The Difference, And A Dash Of Normality Returning

When life hands you lemons, make lemonade. It is a painfully trite cliché, and yet like most clichés, it gets used so often because it generalizes a truth. You may not always have the best tools at your disposal for the job at hand, so you just have to find a way to make the best of what you do have.

The current MotoGP elite know this lesson all too well. Marc Marquez won his Moto2 championship on a Suter against superior Kalexes. Pecco Bagnaia and Jorge Martin came up through Moto3 riding Mahindra, a competent but underpowered motorcycle. Fabio Quartararo found himself on a Speed Up in Moto2, and found a way to win on a finicky but fast Moto2 bike. They didn't have what they wanted, but they found a way to make it work anyway.

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