Comparing Big Bikes to Little Bikes

This one is for the data junkies… I was able to ride both my track bikes (Daytona 765 and Ninja 400) at Thunderhill East on the same day and put in times I was happy with. It’s kind of fun to do a data overlay. I did have traffic on the best laps with both so there are some deviations from what would have been ideal but it’s not that big of a deal for this purpose. For me, I’m happy to see that my slow points are pretty similar both in timing and speed. As I expected, slowing on the Daytona sometimes results in over-slowing which likely has to do with trying to gauge the speed coming down from a much higher speed. The differential is 6.5 seconds. On both bikes, I found that at pace I lost some accuracy on T3 (not terrible, just not as precise as I like).

Using this data to improve

In doing some self-analysis comparing same-day riding on two different biks, one thing that stands out for me is the turn 10 braking on the Daytona. Notice how the speed trace (top graph) shows the red line (Daytona) beneath the blue line (Ninja 400)? In all of the other braking zones, they’re more or less on top of each other. Just comparing my own data, this tells me that I’m braking too soon on the Daytona. The deceleration rate isn’t as fast as the N4 so I’m braking too early and too gently. Obviously, the top speed is higher on the bigger bike so the peaks will be higher but because the slope is more gradual I’ve not maximized my braking zone. Looking at my distance, I see that I initiate braking at 9,130 ft on the Daytona. If I were to approximate a similar rate of acceleration, it looks like I could brake ~9,180 ft and if I can brake as I do on the N4, I should be able to slow at the same rate as I do on the Ninja 400. What I need to do to execute on that is to identify my current brake marker and move it up about 50 feet. What adds some complexity to this is that T10 braking is one of my strongest braking areas on the N4, then there’s the fact that I’m already at ~120mph on the big bike, and in another 50′ that could be ~5mph.

Zooming in on that area and adding effective braking G force, I see that on the Daytona I’m only using about 0.8G. Considering that physics dictates that at 1.0G of deceleration is when the rear wheel starts to lift, I’ve got some more capability there. I’d prefer not to get rear-wheel lift at this stage of my riding and factor in that the N4 is decelerating at ~0.9G, I’m going to use that as a target. Another reference I can use is engine RPM, though getting a sense of that at ~125mph into a heavy braking zone will be very difficult. At present, I’m at 11.7k RPM so 125mph will be about 12.3k RPM in 4th gear. I’ll have to check but could potentially be seeing the beginning of a shift light at that point but I think it will be easier to use a visual reference such as a relative position to the access road on the right or the curbing on the left. Since 0.9G in braking is not outside my comfort zone and is something I can comfortably do, extending my acceleration another ~50′ as the primary focus for my next day there is attainable. If I’m able to do that into T10, then I can possibly extend that to my T14 and T1 acceleration runs as I know I’m braking slightly early in those areas too.

In reviewing the video for my fastest lap, I see that I’m coming out of the throttle and going to the brakes right about the beginning of the access road/THW connector. Next time out I’ll move my brake initiation a little deeper. Another alternative is that I could go to the brakes a little lighter at the same point but as it is my braking isn’t particularly hard right now. I also see some *potential* overlap between throttle roll-off and brake initiation but it might also be latency registered in the camera overlay. I may also need to focus on letting the throttle snap shut and immediately going to the brakes, just in case I do have some overlap.

Coming off the throttle and onto the brakes right just into the beginning of the access/connector road.

So, while it’s just interesting to compare the data, doing so brought to my attention an easy area of improvement. While each of these little nuggets may only add 0.1 – 0.25sec in gain, finding these each time out will continue to yield significant benefits over the course of a season. I’ve already noticed this as I became more confident in getting to wide-open throttle earlier in a couple of areas, it transferred over in nearly all of my acceleration zones. As it is, what used to seem like hard braking to me was barely braking so now it’s time to notch that up again.