MotoGP riders are to get some help with braking. From Mugello onward, all riders will be able to choose once again between running 320mm and 340mm brake discs on the front wheel. Use of the 340mm discs had been made compulsory at Motegi for safety reasons, but now, they will be available at all circuits.
The 320mm brake discs had been made compulsory at the end of the 2011 season, in an effort to cut costs. At that point, teams were free to choose from multiple sizes and masses of brake disc, meaning they were forced to purchase and transport sizeable numbers of discs to each race, while only using one or two sizes. Limiting choice was meant to rationalize the process, and cut costs for the teams.
Unfortunately, the compulsory brake disc size was imposed at the same time as bike capacity and weight were increased. In 2012, the first year of the restrictions, capacity of MotoGP machines was increased to 1000cc, and weights were increased to 157kg, and a year later to 160kg. With more power and nearly 7% more weight, braking forces were growing very large once again.
A series of braking problems, most notably for Cal Crutchlow, appear to be related to the size of the brake discs. It was becoming more and more difficult for the teams to manage braking safely, especially at the faster circuits. With Mugello and Barcelona up next, two of the fastest tracks on the calendar, this was a good time to allow the larger brake discs.
The news will be especially welcome for the Yamaha riders, who have struggled with braking for the last two years. Larger discs will help the bike stop more easily, though it will also require changes to set up to handle the greater braking forces and absorb some of the load.
Riders are already complaining about the front Bridgestone squirming under braking, and bigger discs will make this problem even more of an issue.
Allowing larger brake discs is a prelude to more changes to the technical rules. At some point in the near future, minimum weights will also be reduced again, probably from 160kg to 155kg.
With the new Open class bikes based far less on production bikes and much closer to the factory prototype machines, the allowance of extra weight is simply not needed. Talks on weights have been going on in the background for the last few weeks. More on the reduced weights will appear here soon.
Source: FIM; Photo: © 2014 Scott Jones / Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved
This article was originally published on MotoMatters, and is republished here on Asphalt & Rubber with permission by the author.