After the long and tough winter, I was aching to finally getting back on the CBR and picking up from where we left off last year. I was looking forward to trying out the upgrades that were carried out during the winter break and of course finally being back on track.
My friend Micheal and I only planned for a day, as opposed to the usual 2 day affair, due to the new schedule at Franciacorta this year, and it was supposed to be a miserable one. Rain and thunderstorms had been predicted for quite few a days leading up, but we were astounded when not even a cloud showed up all day. I had the rain tyres prepped and ready to go and was convinced I was going to be getting some serious rain practice time on the open pit-lane format.
At the end of last year I was experiencing some annoying misfiring issues through a specific RPM range, but after fettling a bit with the bike (and essentially changing nothing) the problem seems to have disappeared. I reseated some of the connectors so that might have done the trick.
Michael was testing out his new bodywork and front lighting, which he mounted for night endurance racing. The powerful LED spot lamps look awesome and seem to work great.
It was essentially a problem free day for me, which allowed me to get used to the new parts and get a bit back into the rhythm.
For Michael there was one hiccup when a weld on his exhaust broke. A quick visit to the workshop for a bit of welding meant that we only lost about 1 hour of track time.
I basically changed 2 things over the winter; the gearing and the rear bodywork.
– With the shorter gearing the acceleration has of course improved and it has changed the RPM level during the corners to what I think is a better position. My gear choice throughout the track is almost the same (apart from turns 3 and 4 which I now do in 3rd instead of 2nd, although 2nd is probably still better), but the higher RPM means that the engine is more responsive coming out of the corners and should allow me to have a better speed on the straights.
I’m still a little careful in 2nd gear as it now has a much higher tendency to wheelie, but I’m sure this added acceleration will help reduce lap times as I get the confidence to be more aggressive on corner exit.
– The rear bodywork was a huge improvement; way more that I thought possible. I never quite fully believed when people said that a race seat gives a night and day difference to rear end feel, but I think that’s simply because with the stock seat I simply couldn’t feel anything so I didn’t know what was there.
At the beginning I thought the rear end was sliding all over the place due to this new amount of information coming through the seat, but I slowly got used to it as I better understood it.
There are many improvements to be made to the seat itself and likely need better foam for a slightly comfier ride. I was a bit sore after the day.
At the end of the day I managed to do a 1:23.8, which I am extremely pleased with.
This is only 0.5s off my PB done during the Time Attack event (where I felt like I was pushing) after over 6 months of not riding the bike and this was only in my 3rd session of the day in the morning. The afternoon got quite busy so it was harder to find a lap without traffic, although this lap also had traffic.
Throughout the day I posted consistent 1.24s even from the second session on (I didn’t record the first session), which shows good improvement to consistency and pace.
With the Time Attack starting again in July I’m hoping I can push to do a sub 2 minute lap time by then.
My sleeping arrangement and Michael’s bike transport situation. He can turn his bike lights on during the night to provide extra lighting.
Michael’s new Rothmans livery.