20220629 – Comparing Trusted Sources

Like many riders (and drivers), we all inevitably hit plateaus. One of the things that has helped me, again being risk-averse, is to get reference data from riders whose riding I trust. Now this data is not terribly helpful if you don’t have accompanying video to make sure that it’s relevant. You should share similar lines and technique. My process is to first review the video, then when I determine valid laps, I’ll compare the data. In many instances, it may not be the reference rider’s fastest lap because they might have had to take a non-traditional line to get through traffic or were trying to figure out the bike, whatever the case, make sure you’ve got mostly clean laps that you’re comparing.

On June 27, 2022, at Sonoma Raceway, I had coordinated having a trusted source take my Daytona out for a session. I had already approximately matched my Daytona PB in the morning sessions so I knew my baseline was still there. I had already coordinated to work with a couple of other riders in multiple sessions on my street bike with DOTs and my street suspension setup (though, I managed to get to about 2.5 seconds from my Daytona) and didn’t have a plan for working on my own riding with the Daytona other than making sure my baseline was still there.

My trusted source was ~2.5 seconds faster on his best lap and the themes that I see in the data is that he carries more roll speed through [most] of the corners and brakes later from a couple of high-speed areas. This was his first time on a Triumph so his gear selection was more traditional in coming from inline 4-cylinder bikes where you need to keep the bike near the top of the power band; I tend to short shift and spend more time at WOT. I have a pretty high degree of comfort with my exits on this bike which is seen exiting turns 5 and 10. He clearly shows greater confidence in braking (he goes to the brakes for T7 about 50′ later than I do). He brakes later and less than I do for the T3 complex. He also accelerates slightly between T9 and T9a. Just to check other things, and not on this graph, our lean angle differences are negligible–he’s at 54°/45° and I’m at 53°/46° and other than T3-3a, it’s very similar.

Sonoma – my data in red, reference rider in blue, 2.5 second difference

My reference rider and I both had traffic on our best laps, his is more visible in the data than mine (namely T7 near the first apex). All the same, I see big jumps in the data mostly in building more confidence in my own braking and refining my T3 & T8 to carry more roll speed. I’m not exactly sure how to build to carrying more roll speed and I’ll consult my riding coach on that. I also see that I need to refine my T1-T2 throttle application (I get to WOT quickly but roll out of it too quickly); this has been an ongoing thing for me and I think I could probably spend an entire day just working on throttle application between T1-2.

One of my own developmental challenges is that I pride myself on accuracy. When you go to work on something, you may lose the accuracy as you refine the area and at A group pace, I don’t want to be unpredictable, this is what makes it difficult for me to work on some of my opportunity areas as well as it being foreign and scary.

In sum, after reviewing and comparing the data, and having accompanying video, my takeaways and objectives to work on in my next outing (I may only be able to work on one or two in a day):

  • Refine my throttle for T1-T2
  • Review the reference rider’s video to try to identify a brake marker for T7 and stay WOT to that marker
  • More roll speed into T3 & T8
  • (optional) try to make a point of staying WOT to right over the S/F line (scary but I’ve done it plenty of times, just not consistently)