OK, this truth going to be hurt. I am a lousy rider! I crashed 5 times out of 6 times hitting the track today! Any riding skill that I have accumulated since my first riding experience were all useless once I tried to ride with Suzuki Satria at Go Kart Circuit at Sentul. This is racing at square one people! Just like Go Kart for F1, small bore bike (150cc) is like karting for superbike nuts like us! It really does not matter how fast you accelerate and go on the straight! But how smooth and quick you are on that double hair pin! Lap time do not lie!
I must say I have a very excellence mentor, bro Dyan Dilato, his riding guidance for me was amazing and simply awesome! If you have a chance to be guided by him, do not second guess! I gain a lot more with just couple of lap session with him compare with years and years of trivial road riding and the occasion reading of sports bike mag.
Also the guys at R15 and DDOCI, doing it together is just simply more fun. Yes, I returned home with some bruises and bleeding elbow, but none the less is just worth it!
My reasoning in doing this is simple. I ride my Ducati Monster S2R 800 and my best lap time at Sentul is 2:06. I can hit straight speed of around 200 kph. And I think I can corner OK. Now, the small bore bike (150cc) or the “underbone” best lap time is 1:58. Now I know we are not comparing the same rider here. The 1:58 was done by a professional racer, while me just casual sport rider. But cmon! 8 second gap! With me riding a Ducati, and the small bore bike can only hit 120 – 130 kph max on the straight!
There must be something wrong with my riding style or skill, that when I decided I need to overhaul my riding skill and make sure I doing it properly by the guidance of a proper riding mentor.
To summarize today lessons, the following are the key points for me:
1. Smoothness is key.
Be it braking and throttle-ing, smoothness is key. Don’t grab! But gently squeeze. Both brake and throttle is not set for maximum or minimum. There are alot in between. Several of my crash was the result of closing to aggressively the throttle, that make the rear tyre lose grip and I low sided. You need to -as the local say- “pirit” your throttle to maintain the lean angle. Do not treat them like switch!
2. Do not, I say it again, do not close down throttle during cornering.
Sometime when you entering a corner the back of your mind always say, “Close that throttle dammit! You are too fast!”. That was simply wrong. You should not close the throttle during corner. I learn this the hard way. I think most of my crash were the direct result of closing the throttle during corner. You need to maintain throttle, otherwise you will low sided, bye-bye baby!
3. Countersteering works!
This I thought was a myth! How come when you want to steer left you push the left handle bar, and when you want to steer right you push the right handle bar. Year and year of riding both bicycle and motorbike you always push the left handle bar if you want to go right and viseversa. Apparently this is only for slow speed, for more than say 40 kph it is the other way around. It is countersteering. But don’t over use it as the bike can violently dive. I think that caused my first or second crash.
4. Watch your gear.
Watch your gear carefully, you can miss valuable time or worse loose the rear tyre grip altogether. This is really apparent during steep turning, like say the hair pin. You miss one gear you will widen the turning radius. If you push it, you will low sided again.
5. Braking and downshifting during corner can be done.
This is also something that I never tried before, especially with the Ducati. Down shift too aggressive you will lock the rear tyre. But again, the key is the smoothness. First you need to downshift less aggressive. MotoGP style of 6 – 5 – 4 -3 to 2 rapid sequence of downshifting is not for mere mortal. Also apply bliping during downshift, it shall smoothing the whole downshifting effort. You also need to really smooth releasing the clucth and also squeezing the throttle, once do it properly your lap time will improve big time.
TO BE CONTINUED…