Hydrodynamic bearings have to fulfill different requirements, depending on the operating conditions. Yet, conventional hydrodynamic bearings could not be used in critical operating conditions such as permanent start / stop operations. This is the reason why rolling bearings are currently used for frequent starting operations and low circumferential velocities, as they occur in wind turbines. In order to operate hydrodynamic bearings in a fail-safe manner even under these increased requirements, new bearing materials are needed. Within this study two new bearing material concepts are developed and deposited by thermal spraying as coatings to interact in this tribological system. On the one hand, matrix materials containing friction-reducing solid lubricants and on the other hand, multilayer systems, which can be used in as-sprayed condition, are investigated. The aim of both concepts is to improve the operation properties under critical conditions. The coating concepts are therefore tested on a modified high-load ring-on-disc tribometer and are compared to a reference plain bearing material produced by conventional casting. In this way, it is shown whether these new concepts can meet the requirements of slow-moving and highly loaded hydrodynamic bearings.