An in-depth look at MotoGP braking data for Phillip Island
Phillip Island’s latitude makes for fairly harsh temperatures and brake discs sometimes require carbon covers to maintain a suitable starting temperature when braking. Air temperature remained below 15 during the race last year; in 2014 air temperature was 16 and the temperature of the tarmac was only 29. The forecast for this weekend is for ambient temperatures also around 15 degrees celsius.
According to Brembo experts, who deal with all MotoGP riders (Brembo supplies 100% of riders in the premium class), the Phillip Island Circuit is absolutely the least demanding for the brakes. It earned a 1 on a scale of 1 to 5; the slightly more demanding Assen racetrack earned a 2.
Brake use during the GP
The 4,448 metre track includes 12 turns, half of which are located in the section closest to the frigid waters of the Pacific Ocean. Even though the brakes are used eight times in each lap, for a total 21 seconds per lap, the cold temperatures mean there’s no risk of overheating the brakes.
The most challenging stops
None of the eight braking areas are considered very demanding for the brakes; six are rated medium and two are light. Turn four (Honda Corner) in first gear is the most demanding for the brake system (the pressure gets up to 10.1 bar) and for the rider, who has to put 5.8 kg on the brake lever: MotoGP bikes head to turn four at 220 km/h and drop two thirds of their speed after braking for 171 metres. The braking lasts 4.2 seconds, but deceleration only gets to 1.2 g.
Turn one is 237 metres long and offers the most room for braking, despite bikes coming in at 188 km/h; the riders get up to 344 km/h over the 900 metre straightaway before the turn. Deceleration gets up to 1.5 g, but the brake session lasts a mere 3.2 seconds and the load on the brake lever only gets up to 4.2 kg. Turn, named after Casey Stoner, requires the slightest touch of the brakes: barely 0.8 seconds with a 1 kg load on the brake lever.
Bikes with Brembo brakes have won a full 24 of past 27 editions of the Australian GP in the premium class. The first Italian bike to win in Australia was the Caviga, with John Kocinski in 1994, but races were held at Eastern Creek at the time. Ducati’s 4 victories on Phillip Island were all earned by Casey Stoner. The record for victories on the track is shared by Casey Stoner and Valentino Rossi, who have each won 6 times on this track. Jorge Lorenzo and Marc Marquez have earned one victory each on the track, while Dani Pedrosa has never won.