One of the races that we would like to take part in is the Magny-Cours 500 miles organised by FVP, which made this weekend (29-30 July 2017) at Magny-Cours quite important for us. Not only did it give us the chance to practice and to understand our pace at this track, but also to watch the 500 mile race and learn how the teams handle it from a setup and preparation point of view. I will make a later post about the race.
The track is simply incredible and no onboard footage or video game (Ride 2) can give it justice. The undulation, corners and setting are fantastic, and it really is a complete track. Fast sweeping corners, long straight, chicanes, tight hairpins, braking on corners and accelerating on corners. It’s a complete test of rider and bike.
The bike was upgraded with lighter bodywork, as detailed in the last post (2017 Update 2), and I had a new front Pirelli Superbike SC1 tyre. 7kg less over the last time on track and no more old tyres.
We spent the first day (Saturday) getting to grips with the track and learning it. Argy had engine issues while the rest of us had traffic, red flag issues and my bike was cutting out, which reduced our running time in the morning. By the afternoon Argy had managed to miraculously fix his issues with a home made key for a flywheel and we changed groups where the pace was much more manageable.
Instead I found out I had mounted the tip-over switch at an angle, which was cutting off the engine during hard braking as it thought the bike was tipping over due to the braking deceleration. Took a bit of investigation and walking around the paddock to find out why my engine would always cut out before the same corner when braking from 270 km/h.
It’s a power sensitive track but Argy with his 120hp Tuono was doing an insane job keeping up with the super bikes, and we were able to keep a very similar pace and progressively improve over the weekend. Dionysis, and his RSV Mille, was slowly gaining more confidence on the bike.
Sunday morning we got a little shower, which we were hoping was going to give us the opportunity to try out the rain tyres. Unfortunately it was an awkward situation where there wasn’t enough water to stop the rain tyres from tearing apart and too much water to run on slicks, according to the organisers which wouldn’t let us on track.
Luckily by late morning it had dried up and we were able to keep running until the end of the weekend; but not after we’d done 2 useless tyre changes.
To compete in the endurance race you have to be able to qualify with a sub 2 minute lap time during the day. By the end of the weekend both Argy and I had managed to achieve this, which was the absolute goal of the weekend.
A 1:58.4 for me and 1:59.0 for Argy. Dionysis fell just short of the time, but we have plenty time to come back and practice.
We now have a year to further improve our pace and to better prepare ourselves for long distance racing.
Bresse again next month!