Brno, Czech Republic

2020 MotoGP Calendar Updated Again - Austin Postponed To November, Valencia Moved A Week

The ongoing outbreak of novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, has forced yet another change to the MotoGP calendar for 2020. Due to the restrictions on movement imposed in Italy, in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus, the US round of MotoGP at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, has been postponed until November.

The MotoGP paddock will gather in Austin on November 15th, instead of April 5th. November 15th was originally the date planned for the final round of MotoGP in Valencia, but to make way for Austin, Valencia has been pushed back a week, and will now be held on the weekend of November 22nd.

That means that as of today, March 10th, the MotoGP class will kick off their season at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit in Argentina on April 19th, with the paddock returning to Europe two weeks later for Jerez.

Back to top

Brembo Brakes: Santi Hernandez On Marc Marquez, Braking Style, And Why Scooter Brakes Are The Future

MotoGP remains a prototype racing series, despite the increasing use of spec components. In 2009, MotoGP switched to a single tire supplier, a spec ECU in 2014, and spec software in 2016. Bore and stroke, and the number of cylinders are specified, meaning that all six manufacturers in MotoGP use four-cylinder 1000cc engines with an 81mm bore.

Despite the fact that so much of the rest of the bike design is unregulated, some components become almost de facto spec. The choice of brake component suppliers is completely free, and yet every MotoGP bike on the grid is fitted with parts that come exclusively from Brembo, the Italian brake manufacturer which dominates the sport, on both two wheels and four.

At Brno, I had the chance to talk to two people with intimate knowledge of Brembo's braking components: Andrea Pellegrini, chief engineer for Brembo inside the MotoGP paddock, and Santi Hernandez, crew chief for world champion Marc Márquez in the Repsol Honda team. Pellegrini provided the perspective from the side of the brake manufacturer, while Hernandez gave an insight from the end users' point of view.

New tires, different braking styles

Back to top

Testing To Be Reduced In 2020 For Moto2 And MotoGP - Valencia, Brno Tests Dropped

As the MotoGP championship expands to 20 race in 2020, and the prospect of 22 races from 2022, Dorna and IRTA are making a push to reduce the amount of testing in the series. Next year, testing will be much more limited, not just for MotoGP, but for Moto2 as well.

At Misano, the Grand Prix Commission met to discuss testing for Moto2 going forward. There have long been complaints that the current rules allowed rich teams to spend a lot more time testing than poor teams, the lack of rules on testing between the end of the season and the start of the test ban on December 1st meaning that testing was almost unlimited.

Back to top

Tom's Tech Treasures: Aero, Exhausts, And Other Details From Brno And Austria


The nose section of the Ducati fairing
Peter Bom: This is a great view of the inside of the nose section of the fairing. This is the air intake, which channels the air from the point of highest pressure at the nose, then channels it around the steering head and into the airbox, and from there into the engine.

Back to top

Tom's Tech Treasures: Aero Packages And Seat Units Tried At The Brno Test


Ducati swingarm and wheel cover bracket
Peter Bom: This is the rear end of the Ducati swingarm, with the bracket for the aerodynamic wheel cover attached to the chain tensioner. Above the bracket and at the end of the swingarm, we can see an accelerometer. The data from this accelerometer is probably being used to tune the mass damper in the GP19's 'salad box' to match the circuit and the tires being used.

Back to top

2020 Provisional Calendar - 20 Races, Finland Added, More Back To Back Races

The FIM have issued a provisional calendar for the 2020 MotoGP season, which sees the series expand to 20 races, and lays the basis for expansion to 22 races. The biggest changes are the addition of the Kymiring in Finland in July, and the moving of the Thailand round of MotoGP in Buriram from October to 22nd March.

The racing season kicks off as ever in Qatar, the MotoGP race being moved to the first week of March. From Qatar, the series heads east to Thailand, the MotoGP race taking the slot of the WorldSBK race at Buriram. Attendance for the WorldSBK round had fallen since MotoGP went to Thailand, and so the WorldSBK round is being dropped, with another overseas round to be held in its place.

From Thailand, the paddock heads east once again to cross the International Date Line and head to Austin, the US round moving up to become the third race of the year, ahead of Argentina. The Argentina Grand Prix takes place two weeks after Austin. 

Back to top

Opinion: Doing The Right Thing - The Different Trajectories Of Johann Zarco And Jorge Lorenzo

What are you to do if you find yourself stuck on a bike you know you can't ride? On a bike which you are convinced is trying to hurt you, and which you keep falling of every time you try to push? The obvious answer is you try to leave as soon as possible. But that simple answer hides a host of factors which make leaving not as easy as it looks. The cases of Jorge Lorenzo and Johann Zarco illustrate that very well.

First of all, why would a rider want to leave a factory ride? The pay is good, rarely less than seven figures. Riders have a chance to shape the bike and point development in a direction which suits them. They are treated, if not like royalty, then at least like nobility: transport is arranged and rearranged pretty much at their whim, picked up at their front doors before a race and deposited there again afterward. The pressure is high, but in a factory team, they do everything they can to take the strain and let their riders concentrate on riding.

That is little consolation when the going gets really tough. When you are struggling to get inside the top ten, despite giving your all to try to make the bike go faster. When you are crashing at twice, three times your normal rate. When factories are slow to bring updates to the bike. Or even worse, when they bring boxes and boxes of new parts, and none of those parts make much of a difference to your results.

Gravel rash on repeat

How tough can it get? In 2009, while Valentino Rossi was riding a Yamaha, he crashed 4 times during the season, the same number of times he had fallen the year before. In 2010, he crashed 5 times, though one of those crashes was enough to break his leg and take him out of competing for four races. In 2011, the year he switched to Ducati, he crashed 12 times. When you are not used to falling, that can put a real dent in your confidence. What's more, he scored just a single podium that year, compared to ten, including two wins, the year before.

Back to top

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - When Mighty Mick won his first crown

It’s a quarter of a century since Mighty Mick Doohan won his first 500cc world title at Brno. Here’s how he did it...

There are many parallels between Mighty Mick Doohan and Magical Marc Márquez: their crazy talent to ride the ragged edge, their mastery of the front tyre, their premier-class records and milestones, their enjoyment of mind games and perhaps most of all their love for destroying and demoralising the opposition.

Back to top

Brno MotoGP Test Round Up: Yamaha's New Bike, Honda's Chassis Mystery, Suzuki's Swinger, And Ducati Working For 2019

Testing is a difficult business, and Monday tests are the worst, especially if your problems only manifest themselves when the grip is low. The race on Sunday lays down a nice layer of rubber, and by the afternoon of the test the next day, there is so much rubber on the track that traction is never an issue. If you have traction problems, you have a brief window in the morning where you can replicate those problems. That window also falls when the track is coolest, which means more grip again. You can't win.

The grip on Monday morning at Brno gave a brief window for those who were struggling with grip, riders like Danilo Petrucci, manufacturers like Yamaha. Petrucci found a small improvement in that time, falling back on a setup they used last year which helped in braking, but he illustrated the problem he faced with an example. At the end of the day, when there was plenty of rubber on the track, he was faster than he had been all weekend. "At the end today, I did two or three quite fast runs, in the 1'56s, and I never did a 1'56 all weekend."

Back to top

Pages

Subscribe to Brno, Czech Republic