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Premium Member
10,537 Posts
Following up on an old thread.
Some thoughts from yesteryear moving to modern.
Back in the day at the track, the major plan was to go faster. We needed, more power and gears, better brakes, better traction and suspension, and less weight. The fairings were pretty good.
In the 250 class we all ran the same bikes, it was the rider that made the difference. Weight was 220 pounds dry.
A simple theory is, the bike must obey some basic physics, and will go around a corner at a certain speed. The question then is: Does the rider make it go slower or faster.
Easy answer is most make it go slower. So how do you make it go faster. Short answer, force it.

Few tracks have corners that you can force the bike around by large amounts of throttle, especially the modern tracks. And the small bikes lacked most of the above to do the job.
We often wondered if going sideways around a corner would be faster, but we did not have the power to spin the back wheel to do this, nor the brakes to set it up.
Dunlop made a triangle shape tyre. It had excellent grip on the large flat edges, but was not good for for precise direction control. They did not last.
Most bikes back then had more rake, 18 inch rears and some had 19 inch fronts. With the front forks compressed, the bike would turn a smaller circle. Most stiffened the suspension, front and rear to reduce this effect. We figured if we hit a bump and bounced, as long as we were going where we aimed, it was not a problem. Again lighter weight also helped.

Then we had the 750 production classes. Heavier bikes, soft forks, more rakes than modern bikes, not much ground clearance. These things got dropped and crashed on a regular basis. I joined the crash group which included Yvon DuHamel and others. A 250 Yamaha road race bike, was a lot faster than any 750 street bike.

Fast forward and watch the go fast guys. Yamaha says the biggest problem is traction control out of corners.
These guys are carrying the rear wheel off the ground for a long time, and steering left and right with the front. Entering corners with the rear hanging out like a speedway bike, again with the front going left and right for direction control. This is the mini sideways that I mentioned up the page. What reduced the need for full sideways, was the better traction from the tyres. Exciting the corners, they are carrying the front wheel and body steering.
Less weight and less rake makes body steering the way to go, and proceeds counter steering, when required.

The chat from the announcers at the races is informative. Most are ex racers. About Marquez on the Honda. He forces the bike around.
About Lorenzo crash. If you listen carefully you can hear the back wheel lock. They know the sound from the rear tyre is a lower key than the front.

For sideways riding, speedway is the best IMO. The first action is to aim the bike at the corner by normal steering. That starts the rear moving out. Throttle keeps the rear wheel spinning, and massive counter steering is used. Minor inputs from left and right steering are used. This is an extreme example of what the pavement guys are doing.
Notice guys like Rossi and Lorenzo ride mostly clean lines, and do not appear to force the bike so much.

Notice too, the 250 single cylinder 4 strokes are doing 140 miles per hour. Quality fairings and light weight are the answer.


Premium Member
10,537 Posts
Guys like Marquez just make me realize ho inadequate I really am. By the way, I am a Rossi fan all the way. It will be one great loss when he finally retires.
With similar bikes, and a bunch of experienced and gifted riders, the mental capacity, is often the difference for winning.
Getting passed on a corner, by someone who is prepared to run a bit faster, is a wake up call. Jim Allen the Canadian number 1 plate did that to me.

An issue for the weekend warriors, is the cost of crashes, or just a simple tip over in the rain. The cost of fixing is a problem, on a young persons limited budget. So you try and stay on the careful side of things, while pushing as hard as you can. Generally in the dry, many fast guys were well matched on similar bikes. But in the rain, only a handful would go fast.

What boggles me the most about Marquez, is the corner entries, with the back wheel 3 inches off the track, and 9 inches to the side, while waving the front about for direction control. We never had the brakes or tyre traction for anything like that.

The close up camera work, and the sounds are great. You tube has the races for those that do not know. Often we hear, click click click, for three downshifts in a row. The brakes are so strong you do not get a lot of time to get fancy.

I like the steady progression of Morbidelli. Rossi's farm team, if I can call it that, was first in the 250 race, and first and second in the 600 race. The 600 Honda engine will be replaced by a 675? Triumph next year. That will get these bikes a bit closer to the big guys. I have a Rossi back pack, available at your local bike shop, I hope. I was born in 46, so the number suits me.

Thank you for your post. UK
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