I FEEL THE NEED, THE NEED, FOR SPEED
Allow me to pose a notion to you. The fastest part of any track is a straight. To the extent that this is true, would you agree that increasing the speed you travel along a straight will lower your lap time? If you answered yes, your next question might relate to how you achieve this. The answer is simple. Hold the throttle open.
I can hear many of you saying, ‘well, der’. It may seem like a simple notion; however, for many, holding the throttle 100 per cent open can be daunting. Opening any throttle to 100 per cent is no joke, and on a modern litre bike, especially so.
Let’s be honest, it can be scary to hold the throttle fully open. This is a natural reaction to a situation that many may not have experienced, particularly those new to the track environment. Out on the road, a certain percentage of riders might venture into the full-throttle zone. However, I would wager the vast majority roll out of it well before the threat of a sudden stop or loss of license reverses their throttle hand.
It’s easier to gain time on the straights. By ensuring you reach 100 per cent throttle on every straight, you increase your average speed for the lap. Put simply, you are covering more distance in less time.
All you have to do is twist that grip and hold on. Try making an equivalent speed increase through a corner (of any sort) and see what happens. Hello, ambulance.
Mid-corner – no place to make up time
In addition, it is safer to pass other riders on the straight. Countless incidents at a track day occur when riders are attempting passes into, through or exiting corners. Take your risk way down by pinning that throttle and passing on the straight.
GET TO THE REDLINE
It is essential to rev your engine to its redline (but not beyond it) to maximise your speed. This ensures you extract the maximum amount of power your motorcycle has to offer, thus propelling you to the highest possible speed in the shortest possible time.
However, be careful not to over-rev your engine (keep it off the rev-limiter), as this is not good for two reasons. Firstly, it is not kind to your motor and could reduce the longevity of the engine. Secondly, peak power and torque generally occur a little before redline, so there is no power to be gained in revving beyond the rev limiter.
EASE INTO IT
If you feel uncomfortable twisting the throttle to 100%, ease into it by short-shifting. The key is to get that throttle fully turned to the stop. Work up to the redline by shifting a few thousand RPM (or more) below the redline until you get comfortable with putting that throttle to the stop. As you get used to it, push your shift point further up the rev range until you can intuitively hit peak revs like Luke Skywalker using the force to destroy the Death Star.
Passing in corners is risky
Using full throttle is all well and good, but don’t get too greedy too early. Make sure you have reduced your lean angle to the point where full throttle is safe. And don’t forget roll the throttle on smoothly and progressively. This will give the rear tyre the best chance of maximising available traction and work to minimise front end lift.
GET AT IT!
On the track, we are not faced with the same traction limits as on the road. The problem is, many are hesitant to twist that grip all the way, while others think they are doing it when in reality, they are not. But if you can push through the fear and maximise your acceleration and speed by getting to full throttle as early as possible, you are guaranteed to lower your lap times.
Besides, using full throttle is fun!
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