This was Dylan’s private day that I’d booked months ago. It was my only outing to Laguna Seca (WeatherTech) for the 2023 season since the track was closed for a re-pave the first half of the year and then I was up at The Ridge most of the summer so the July-August Laguna dates didn’t work for me. The private day was outstanding with terrific weather, low-ish headcount (35 riders max per each of 2 groups), 30-minute sessions, and minimal flags.
It had been over a year since I was there and the previous time was on the Daytona when I went 1:44 one lap and a bunch of 1:45 laps. So far this season, I’m usually 2-3 seconds faster with the Daytona than with my Tuono V4. The Tuono is about 65 lbs heavier and the rear suspension, though firmed up with the stock springs and valving, is still quite soft and that’s very much a factor for me, particularly in faster spots with either bumps or appreciable lean. I didn’t over-slow for the turns quite as much as I have at other tracks but there are definitely some areas where I know I could have carried more roll speed.
The bike is still highly stock. It does have the Akra slip-on and Gabro tune, Malgatech forged aluminum wheels, Pirelli SC1 tires (125/70 & 200/65) and they were well-used in this session; I replaced the rear for the rest of the day. This was also another good test of the Bonamici TFT enclosure/case and the RF shielding, all of which worked great to minimize RF interference with my timer/data logger.
My throttle usage is improving, trying to do a linear build. There is a bit of early decay still but this is dramatically improved this season. I credit this to better confidence with my braking. Speaking of braking, my brake release in a few corners was slightly late and not as smooth as I would have liked. Initial brake pressure was a little quick too so this comes back to doing more condensed braking as a goal.
Turn 1 is still daunting with a slightly more pronounced ridge than what it had before the re-pave. On one lap I managed 131 mph (GPS) over the top but I was mostly high 120s. The run up to T7 was a bit spooky as the front of the bike would almost always come up shortly before braking but I still managed much better speed over the top compared to last year. It was staggering to be WOT out of T6 and getting passed by proper superbikes.
The lean angle was conservative (looking at the IMU, not the AiM calculated lean angle). TC/WC only intervened while I was up and down (wheelie control) so I wasn’t doing anything inappropriate for the grip. My peak trail braking numbers are pretty decent with no real anomalous peaks.
Laguna, though it isn’t my favorite track, is a magical place with loads of pedigree. It’s not terribly technical but it’s iconic and I’ve had so much great weather there. Combine that with the matter that a load of good friends from the North Bay showed up to ride and I got to ride with a lot of them, do some chase video for a friend, and it was a high-quality, low-incident day, everything made for an outstanding track day. I rode all sessions and had brought the Ninja 400 but ended up letting a couple of other riders take it out and they had a great time with it.
A huge thanks to Dylan for putting on the event and making it happen!