Almeria Insights

Would be better punch out of the corners esp on to the long straight, but would benefit coming out of all corners; would give more engine braking into corners – less braking needed to apply manually.

OK, rather than watch Downton Abby on  Christmas Day, I watched my on-boards from the recent trip to Almeria, and compared them to Crafar’s Almeria vid to see where I was going wroing/could improve – here’s the findings.

1. Observation: I am in too high a gear in the infield – coming out of many of the corners I am in 6-8K rpm i.e. I am in 2nd or 3rd when I should be in 1st or 2nd (esp at the end of the long straight). Looking at Race-Chrono my speed on at the end of the long straight, through the chicane and on to the long straight warrants only being in first (40-50 mph). Maybe also the left turn onto the long up hill left hander.
What does Crafar do: He’s in high revs all the time, He comes down 4? gears at the end of the long straight.
Benefit: Would be better punch out of the corners esp on to the long straight, but would benefit coming out of all corners; would give more engine braking into corners – less braking needed to apply manually.
Plan: Try and use lower gears. Find out the top speed in all gears and use Race Chrono to plan the gear to use for each turn. Practice down-shifting under pressure – it has to be as second nature as up-shifting!
Danger: Going into 1st mean more chance of the rear locking up even with a slipper clutch. May have to give less throttle (or time its application better).
Wish List: A line of LEDs that indicate rpm that I could stick on my screen like a ZX-10R. Yellow 1 to 9K rpm, Green 9 to 12K rpm and red above. Down blipper ? :)

2. Observation: using too much engine braking it seems. The time spent decelerating (all be it at a very slow rate seems to long).
What does Crafar do: You can hear when he’s off the throttle but its for shorter periods.
Benefit: Longer spent on the throttle would mean higher speeds on all the straights.
Plan: If not accelerating, brake. Work with braking markers. Brake into turn in.
Danger: Too busy at turn in time; harder to judge speed; miss turn in point; run wide due to excess speed.
Wishlist: Data acquisition would show how much brakes I’m applying and for how long. How about a light that shows brake application on my screen?

3. Observation: Head too far away from inside bar – can look crossed up. No knee down so no I’m getting no indication of lean.
What does Crafar do: Sits high but looks good.
Benefit: Better weight distribution; less lean required; looks better in pictures 😛
Plan: Drop inside shoulder; put head closer to inside clip on, splay legs!
Danger: I’m not used to this, try clinging onto bike rather than sit on it, physically to hard.
Wishlist: Could rearsets make a difference? How about a higher seat?

4. Observation: Front forks don’t have the range of adjustment required. Although the shock seemed OK, everything on forks was wound up to about max. Bumps at Almeria were making the whole of the front end shake.
Plan: Upgrade springs, fork cartridges and oil to give the adjustment I need.
Danger:  Can’t get the bike to work on the road anymore.

4 thoughts on “Almeria Insights”

  1. Since writing this I travelled to my favourite private test road and found out the 750 will hit 85 in first. So that makes the slow turns at Almeria more than do-able.

  2. Or in Simon’s own words” Just go faster”. 😉

    Impressive analysis, and I like the Christmas viewing choices. I think I watched a Finnish Horror film about Santa Claus. I think your choice was better.

    I must admit I was never in first but was using second a lot for engine braking in the infield, if I was taking it easy I was in third most of the way round. I can relate to the whole cruising too much mantra, I did spend time on the back straight off the throttle and not on the brake which is a pointless exercise as like you say it should be off the throttle and hard on the brakes, I must have lost a second a lap just there.

    I do think that as you say down shifting should be as easy and frequent as upshifting is. Especially if you have a slipper clutch, I would advise spending a little time just practicing the clutch release on down shift as you can really just bang in a lower gear and just let go, build up a little trust in the mechanism.

    Sounds like 2013 is going to be a year of refinement for you TM. :)

  3. Thank you Wookie – this stuff is easier said than done tho!

    I’ve started doing the downshifts and re-engaging the engine after each shift rather than doing a block change on my Hornet. It’s obvious that doesn’t have a slipper clutch and it doesn’t feel very sympathetic to the gear box but it has be practiced.

    I’ve had one of the free No Limit instructors tell me to use a higher gear when he followed me at Rockingham, so that I was smoother, but that was on my second trackday I think. I guess you have to be aggressive in gear choice but apply them smoothly aka being Jorge.

  4. Great write up. I’m glad you found your favourite private test road, because obviously such testing on the Queen’s highways would be highly illegal…

    The thing that struck me particularly from this is that being in a lower gear also means more engine braking, which is a… well, I’m not sure if it’s a good thing or a bad thing. But it does also require you to be much smoother as well. Putting all these things together becomes harder and harder, but I guess that’s the point :)

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