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On board lap of Brno

On board lap of Brno

On board lap of Brno

One of the most famous venues in World Championship racing that made the successful transition from the original road circuit to a permanent circuit, Brno has hosted MotoGP since 1987, apart from one year in 1992.

Racing started in the Brno region way back in 1904 when the town was a checkpoint in the Vienna - Wroclaw race. In 1930 the 29.1km road circuit was introduced and 19 years later, after the second world war, was shortened to 17.8km.

In 1950 motorcycle racing was introduced and after the track was shortened to 13.9 kms, the first Czechoslovakian Grand Prix was staged in 1965 and won by the late Mike Hailwood, riding the MV Agusta.

Despite shortening the track to 10.9km, the road circuit became too dangerous for Grand Prix racing and the last race was staged in 1982. Plans to build a permanent circuit on the wooded hillsides above the town were already being drawn-up.

The new circuit was finally opened in 1987 with Australian Wayne Gardner winning the first race round the 5.4km track for Honda, on route to the 500cc World Championship. Massive crowds watched those early races, with fans coming from all over the Eastern bloc to witness international sport.

With the demise of Communism, the event was renamed the Czech Republic Grand Prix in 1993 which has been staged on the undulating fast flowing circuit ever since.

In spite of the number of curves and esses, which would lead one to think that this was a slow circuit, Brno is in fact the sixth fastest in the MotoGP World Championship with an average speed of 163.7km/h. The winding nature of the circuit is balanced by the great width of the track.

The distance of 15 metres from one side of the track to the other allows the riders to take a racing line which makes the corners more open than they actually are. In addition there is relative parity between left and right-handed corners, six and eight respectively, so the tyres to be used are manufactured symmetrically and perform evenly throughout the lap.

A crucial aspect to racing at this circuit, with eight esses around the track, is setting the suspension and chassis so that the bike is light and nimble. To enable this, it is important to set the bike up with as lower centre of gravity as possible, and with steering settings with short play to change direction quickly. Furthermore, since there are no excessively fast corners it is not necessary to find a big degree of stability in the front end of the bike.

However, engine settings are critical at this circuit. On the one hand the engine must give a smooth power delivery from 0% to 15% throttle. The corners are very long and the throttle is opened early on in the corner with the bike leaning, so the smoothness of the delivery is crucial to ensure a high speed on the following straight.

At the same time, this smooth delivery must not prejudice maximum power delivery since the sharp climbs (there is nearly one kilometre of continued ascent with an inclination of seven and a half per cent) mean that the engine must deliver full power to achieve high speeds during this climb.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2004, GAULOISES GRAND PRIX ČESKÉ REPUBLIKY

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