I wanted to know why LCR Honda MotoGP rider Stefan Bradl had switched mid-season from Nissin to Brembo brakes, so I spoke by phone with experienced Brembo engineer Eugenio Gandolfi. He pointed out that if a brake system is more sudden in its application, it is also going to be more sudden when the rider comes off the brakes. That is, lack of smooth response can interfere with the delicate process of pulling weight off the front footprint and moving it to the rear. Why, a fellow could lose the front!
This is a point Cycle World Contributing Editor Nick Ienatsch emphasizes, that the front footprint must be nurtured and maintained. Therefore, the most common cause of losing the front is letting the front “pop up” during brake reduction/release. And this is surely why riders are now holding the front brake on past the apex, probably while beginning to apply throttle.
When I suggested to Gandolfi that Ducati has complete information as to what its front-end problem is, with graphs of front-tire temperature from the beginning of braking to the moment the machine becomes upright after the corner, he agreed. But for some reason, the engineers have seen fit to use their time in a series of small, low-risk experiments that fritter away time without providing a solution.
Additionally, Gandolfi noted that Bradl’s setup derives from information supplied, at least in part, by Repsol Honda teammates Dani Pedrosa and Marc Marquez, both of whom are Brembo users. Within that package, the Nissin brakes constituted a discordant element, affecting the speed of dive at brake application and, likely, the speed of release, as well. Ramifications!
In this five-minute MotoGP.com Workshop video, Brembo engineer Eugenio Gandolfi explains the critical role that carbon brake technology plays in Grand Prix racing’s premier class.