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A lap of the Mugello circuit

A lap of the Mugello circuit

A lap of the Mugello circuit

It is always a pleasure for teams to race at Mugello. The circuit is exemplary in its layout, its safety features and the excellent facilities that make the work of the teams much easier.

The most notable characteristic of the track is the top speed reached. It is by quite some way the circuit which registers the highest speeds, with the speedometer topping the 320 km/h mark.

These exceptionally high speeds reached means that very often it is necessary to make aerodynamic improvements to the bike. These modifications are made not only to increase the top speed but also to stop the bikes quite literally taking off like an aeroplane at the end of the straight.

To illustrate this, it is worth bearing in mind that a Jumbo 747 aeroplane lifts off at around 310 Km/h. The riders frequently note that when they start to brake at the end of the straight, as they come out from the protection of the fairing, the force of the air against their chest can be painful. Some riders make modifications to the front of their racing leathers and reinforce the padding here to stop this problem.

The high speeds also condition the gear ratios to be used at the circuit. Since the sixth gear must be set up to attain speeds of more than 360 km/h (it should be noted that the speed of the rear wheel is much higher than the actual speed of the bike), the gaps between the gears are very long and it is difficult to set correctly.

What's more, the fact that 52% of the lap is taken in second gear and 35% in third, means these ratios cannot be altered too much, therefore the fourth and fifth gears must be set to accommodate effectively the jumps in speed.

The average speed at this track is one of the highest of the World Championship at more than 170 Km/h and, together with the long straight, means that the fuel consumption is one of the highest in the season. This means that the power delivery of the engine must sometimes be set to the minimum in order to conserve fuel and get to the end of the race without running out of fuel.

This factor is even more significant this year with the introduction of a new fuel limit of only 22 litres permitted. The engine settings used will more likely be dictated by lowering fuel consumption than by optimizing power delivery.

At a circuit like Mugello where there are six chicanes, even though they are taken at a relatively high speed, we are looking to obtain as low a centre of gravity as possible so that the riders can use a minimum of effort to shift the bike.

The suspension settings must be set relatively hard, in the front to support the sharp braking at the end of the straight, and in the rear because the sudden changes of racing line in the chicanes produce an extra force on the rear suspension.


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