The fifth round of the World Superbike Championship will run at the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari in Imola, May 12-14. The circuit is located in the province of Bologna.
Completed in 1952, the Autodromo was tested by Umberto Masetti (two-time world champion in the 500cc class) and Enrico Lorenzetti (world title holder in the 250cc class). Fifteen years later it hosted its first World Championship race, but it wasn’t until the 200 Miglia di Imola was launched in 1972 that the track attained universal fame.
The circuit is very technical and includes truly challenging braking sections of every type possible. It’s not a coincidence that Enzo Ferrari called the circuit that bears his and his son Enzo’s names a “little Nurburgring”. The track is made up of 22 turns, 13 of which are to the left, a very short straightaway at the arrival (391 yards), and slopes that reach 7.8%.
According to Brembo technicians, who work closely with 17 World Superbike riders, the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari is a highly demanding circuit for the brakes. On a scale of 1 to 5, it earned a five on the difficulty index, exactly the same score given to the tracks at Donington and Chang.
The demand on the brakes during the GP
The Superbikes use their brakes 12 times per lap, a value surpassed only by Losail, but that track is 492 yards longer. In Bahrain the riders use their brakes for 31.5 seconds per lap, while at Imola they use them for more than 32 seconds, the record for the 2017 World Championship. Overall, the riders apply the brakes for 30% of the entire duration of the race.
Since the corners are taken in first, second, third and fourth gear, the average peak deceleration per lap is not very high. Regardless, the 1.14 G exerted by the production-based motorcycles using steel discs is still higher than that of the MotoGP bikes with carbon discs on the tracks in Jerez, Austin and Termas de Rio Hondo.
Summing up all the force applied by a rider on the brake lever from the starting line to the checkered flag, the total comes to more than 2,094 lbs., which is the same weight as five Ducati 1299 Panigale S bikes in running order and equipped with Brembo EVO M50 monobloc calipers.
The most demanding braking sections
Of the 12 braking sections on the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari track, two are classified as very demanding on the brakes, seven are of medium difficulty and three are light.
The most difficult by far is the Tamburello Corner (Turn 2) because the Superbikes arrive going 180 mph and have a few short instants to drop down to 65 mph by the end of the 205-yard braking section. The riders use their brakes for four-seconds applying a 12.7 lbs. load on the brake lever, one of the heaviest in the entire World Championship. They experience a deceleration of 1.5 G, which is 0.38 G more than a Lamborghini Aventador braking from 125 to 0 mph.
The brakes also undergo a great deal of stress at the Alta Corner (Turn 14): the Superbikes go from 146 mph to 56 mph traveling 154 yards in 3.2 seconds. The pressure of the Brembo fluid in the braking system reaches 11.3 bar, which is almost four times the pressure in a bottle of sparkling wine.
The Tosa (Turn 7) on the other hand, is the corner taken at the lowest speed: 43 mph, after decelerating from 76 mph over 123 yards in 3.4 seconds.
Bikes with Brembo brakes have won the last four World Superbike races contested at the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari. In 2015, Jonathan Rea took the victory with Kawasaki and last year Chaz Davies came in first with Ducati. In fact, it was Ducati that won the first World Superbike race at Imola in 2001 with Ruben Xaus, and Brembo brakes of course.
About Brembo SpA
Brembo SpA is the world leader and acknowledged innovator of disc brake technology for automotive vehicles. Brembo supplies high performance brake systems for the most important manufacturers of cars, commercial vehicles and motorbikes worldwide,as well as clutches and other components for racing. Brembo is also a leader in the racing sector and has won more than 300 championships. Today the company operates in 15 countries on 3 continents, with 24 production and business sites, and a pool of about 9.000 employees, about 10% of whom are engineers and product specialists active in the R&D. 2016 turnover is € 2,279.1 million (12.31.2016). Brembo is the owner of the Brembo, Breco, AP, Bybre, and Marchesini brands and operates through the AP Racing brand.