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A lap of the Shanghai circuit

A lap of the Shanghai circuit

A lap of the Shanghai circuit

The recently built Shanghai Circuit has a rather peculiar layout. It is said that the track has been designed in the shape of one of the letters from the Chinese alphabet to form the word Shanghai.

Looking at the layout, the first thing that stands out is the presence of two long straights, which are rather like the old circuit of Hockenheim. One of them is more than 1200 metres long and looks set to be one of the fastest straights in the World Championship.

In addition to the never-ending straight, there are two more straights; both are over 600 metres long. This will undoubtedly make the job of the technicians harder since they must find a tyre that withstands the wear in the central part of the tyre structure.

The tyres used will probably be similar to those used in Motegi, where the central part of the tyre is reinforced to withstand the centrifugal force and the high temperatures generated in the tyre's interior.

In addition to the three straights, there are two very special corners. The first is a never-ending spiral (corners number 1,2 and 3) where the riders must find the ideal racing line to lap quickly. The other corner is, in fact, a series of corners (numbers 10, 11 and 12) and must be taken very slowly in first gear. It steadily opens out onto the longest straight in the circuit.

The gear ratio settings will possibly be one of the most important settings for the teams at this circuit. The speeds on the straight will almost certainly be in excess of 330 km/h and the rear wheel will be rotating at more than 360 Km/h. The very slow corners (corners 3, 10 and 13) will be taken at speeds as low as 50 or 60 km/h; therefore the jumps between the gears will be enormous and the time and power loss when the rider changes gear will be crucial.

Another important setting will be the engine brake because there are a number of hard- braking areas. The riders will be braking hardest when coming into corners 11, 13 and 14 and, since they follow on from each other, the front brakes will have to work harder than normal and the technicians will probably have to fit larger than normal front brake discs (320mm diameter).

An important factor to take into account during the race is fuel consumption. This year the fuel for the race has been limited from 24 to 22 litres which means that at most circuits the bikes are at the limit at the end of the race and special fuel ignition settings must be used in order to be able to get to the finish line – a method that often compromises speed.


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