Features

"In Spielberg the elevation affects the engine"

Just one week after the Czech GP and a one day test at Brno, the teams and riders have moved on to the Red Bull Ring in Austria for another important race in this busy part of the season.

This circuit, set among the mountains of the Austrian Alps, has many unique qualities and requires the teams to work harder than ever behind the scenes to ensure a competitive bike. One of the key areas for the GP will be speed, as Andrea Iannone’s Crew Chief, Marco Rigamonti explains…

“For the Austrian GP the main target is to have very good acceleration and to be very strong in hard braking because the track is ‘stop-and-go’. So it’s important to accelerate very fast and then to brake very late”.
 

In Red Bull Ring is crucial to have good acceleration and to be strong in braking

The GSX-RR is well-known for it’s excellent corner speed, but this particular track offers little chance for the team to show it off.

“There are a lot of corners in Austria which are very slow, there are only a couple of fast ones. Most of the them are first or second gear, so in this track we can’t really benefit from one of the best characteristics of our bike.”

Despite the very hot summer experienced by most of Europe, including last weekend’s Brno GP, Marco feels that the riders won’t suffer too badly with tyre degradation…

“We’ve seen this year that Michelin are bringing good tyres, we are struggling a lot less this season with tyre life and degradation. So even if the track is hot in Austria I think it will be the same story.”

Perhaps the most fascinating thing about the Austrian GP is that it is held at high altitude - the highest on the calendar - over 700m above sea level. This requires specialist adaptations.

Red Bull Ring is at 700 meters above sea level, the highest circuit in the calendar

“The elevation affects the performance of the engine, so the manufacturers are looking to change something inside the engine to gain advantage. Things like fuel injection are worked on, which is crucial in the high altitude because of the thinner air. So manufacturers are more or less affected depending on their engine characteristics. However, on the electronics side, you only have to change the quantity of fuel, to have the best combustion inside the engine and this is more or less automated. Another interesting point is that this is the track with the highest fuel consumption on the calendar, so it’s always a struggle to manage that…”

So is there somewhere Team SUZUKI ECSTAR could gain a clear advantage during Sunday’s GP?

“It’s actually one of the most difficult tracks for us because we don’t have the best engine power compared with some of the other bikes. The track is very small and tight, but with a big straight. Maybe if you can gain one of two tenths of a second in some corners you could take an advantage. But our riders have struggled with over-taking due to the lack of top speed, so it’s difficult to say in what ways we’ll take an advantage here.”

We’ll see you on track at the Austrian GP in just a few days’ time!

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