GW x HD: Circuit de Bresse September 2017

Written by bmc

We went into this weekend with the expectation that there would be changeable weather conditions. We arrived at the track on a calm Friday night with little signs of rain but at 5 AM, as predicted by the forecast, the rain started and would not stop until late morning.

We swapped wheels first thing in the morning to mount our rain tyres and headed out for a couple of wet morning sessions; the rain had died down a little but the track was wet and slick. This was my first time on track in the rain and using rain tyres, so I had a lot to learn about the grip levels and feeling in the tyres. Argy had some brake issues in the first session but we managed to stick together for the second morning session.

After lunch the track had a distinct dry line but we had to stick to rain or street tyres due to the amount of damp areas, which was overheating the rain tyres. I would normally never pray for rain, but in these circumstances I was pleased to see it rained again in the afternoon so I could do a full wet session. I had a bit of a moment during this session when I started opening the throttle with too much lean and almost lost the rear; I was convinced I was about to go down, but somehow the tyre found grip as I was letting off.

Fastest time of the day, on Dunlop KR rain tyres, was a 1:47 and my best time in full wet conditions was 1:55.45. Overall I was pleased with my performance in the rain for my first time, as I was only 17 seconds off my fastest in the dry with slicks on what is a technical track.

Saturday

Bike Front Tyre Rear Tyre Temperature Conditions Time
Honda CBR1000RR SC57/1 Dunlop KR191 125/80 Dunlop KR393 190/55 15-20C Damp / Dry Line 1:47
Honda CBR1000RR SC57/1 Dunlop KR191 125/80 Dunlop KR393 190/55 15C Wet 1:55.45

By the end of the day it was almost completely dry and so we switched to slicks in preparation for a dry Sunday. Argy has some issues with the Tuono and decided to head back to pick up the MV Agusta from home.

Sunday morning was still fresh but we could run on slicks. One or two puddles were still present but I had to take it easy anyway as I needed to get accustomed to the grip of the slicks after a full day on rain tires. Unfortunately Argy lost the front in the first session as he drove through one of these puddles, which almost put him out of action for the day; luckily we managed to use my old Nissin brake master cylinder for the clutch and use a bolt as a shifter peg.

It got warmer and nicer as the day went on so luckily Sunday turned into a normal dry track day for us.

The most important thing is on the final session of the weekend I was finally able to get my elbow down! It’s been a long time coming and it’s an (insignificant) achievement I’ve been trying to reach since I started on bikes. It took me one year, almost to the day.

My fastest time of the whole weekend was done on my last session, 1:39.200, which is a second slower than my PB. I wasn’t surprised I didn’t improve over last time as I wasn’t pushing extremely hard due to the weather conditions the day before and I was slowly easing into the dry conditions.

Sunday

Bike Front Tyre Rear Tyre Temperature Conditions Time
Honda CBR1000RR SC57/1 Pirelli Superbike SC1 120/70 Pirelli Superbike SC2 180/60 25C Dry 1:39.200

I also had a quick dab at sticking the leg out during braking to see how it feels and understand why people do it. Didn’t help. Not sure why people do it, but maybe it looks cool?!

So here are the bikes:

Latest addition is Frankie’s GSX-R 1000; full feature coming soon.

Next month we will be back at Franciacorta for a long and hopefully special weekend.

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