Summer break has (finally) come to an end and all eyes are ahead as the teams and riders head to the Czech Grand Prix. As we enter the 10th round of the 2019 season, we see an interesting mix of riders leading the pack after some of the most memorable races to date. The season is continuing to heat up and although Repsol Honda rider, Marc Marquez, is showing signs of taking off with the World Champion title, each race has posed new threats and there have been no signs of slowing down on anyone’s part. At this point, riders are focused on taking points away from Marquez before it’s too late.
In the past, the Automotodrom Brno has brought a wide range of exciting race day weather conditions. Within the past 4 years, riders have endured two years of wet circuit conditions, a year with significantly elevated circuit temperatures, and a continuously cooler air temperature readings.
Today we are going to explore the forecast for the upcoming race weekend. Please keep in mind, Mother Nature changes her paths frequently and what is forecasted to occur in 5 short days may change.
Although rainfall is not expected to dampen the weekend, moisture levels are predicted to be elevated, resulting in consistent cloud coverage and humid conditions. Free Practice Friday is forecasted to start the weekend off will mild air conditions and heavier cloud coverage in the afternoon. Cloud coverage is a direct effect of elevated moisture levels (convective activity!). With clouds comes cooler circuit temperatures as the incoming solar radiation traveling from the sun no longer has a direct path to the asphalt. To summarize, Friday we can expect clouds in the afternoon with humid conditions and cooler circuit temperatures.
Qualifying Saturday may bring cooler air temperatures with clouds in the morning that hopefully breaks into partly cloudy in the afternoon. Riders can expect the circuit temperature to jump up as the clouds begin to part and the insolation from the sun is no longer obstructed and is directly absorbed by the asphalt.
Race day temperatures are forecasted to heat back up to Friday’s levels but clouds expected in the morning may create cooler circuit temperatures for riders in the first half of the day. As the day carries on we may see a break in the clouds and similar effect as Saturday with the circuit temperature fluctuating greatly from warm up to race.
While tire choice is always a significant factor in a rider’s performance, the moisture levels expected to be present at Brno may create an added twist. Luckily, warmer, stable air temperatures are predicted which reduces the chance of rainfall. Fun fact: warmer air has a higher moisture holding capacity than cooler air, AKA warm air with a stable moisture level has less of a chance of condensing than cooler air with the same moisture level.
While no substantial rainfall is forecasted, the moisture levels expected will play a major role in cloud coverage and circuit temperature fluctuation from free practice Friday to race day.