The traction control also applies wheelie control, and at any setting under level three I found the anti-wheelie didn’t effect the bike to a noticeable level. As the session progresses I continue to be amazed by the ability to downshift with no clutch.
The effortless downshifting means that you can focus on your braking markers, reference points and, after not riding around Phillip Island for nearly five years, that is a welcome aid!
I did push this feature to the limit in this session, and at Turn 4 I went from fourth gear at around 220km/h into first gear on the entry. The cool thing is, the engine actually blips the rpm a little to help the bike down through the gears, but the compression going back to first was a little to much for the slipper clutch and there was a little bit of rear wheel chatter to follow.
From this point on, and with this gearing, I found second gear to be better in both of those corners, allowing for a smoother exit and more control over the engine.
After battling a little bit with the fast changes of direction I decided to pit again briefly, to see if i could make a small adjustment to the rear shock. Now that the speed had come back a little more, I felt I needed a little more preload on the rear.
This would help keep the feeling of the bike a little more weight biased to the front on the long accelerations which are followed by changes in directions. However we ended up just changing the compression due to time constraints, which didn’t have the desired result, but was a quick change we were able to try.
The GSX-R1000Rs received new tyres for the next outing, the stickier race version of the Bridgestone RS10. Instantly the bike is hooking up a lot better, not only off the turn but everywhere.
This is confidence inspiring, and a whole lot of fun. I also had the ABS turned off for this session, I am personally not a big fan of ABS on race bikes. Under heavy braking it seems to override the input that a rider puts in, and as it tries to compensate this can be felt in little pulsations through the brake lever. This is not only with the GSX-R1000R, but with most bikes I have ridden with ABS. I just prefer it turned off.
In saying that, I am from the old school where there were no aids, and I am by no mean insinuating that people should turn ABS off. It is a feature on a modern motorcycle that has the potential to save lives. It’s just a personal preference of mine on the track.
Mark Willis has had a long and distinguished career in motorcycle racing across many disciplines. Australian Long Track Champion (1993), Australian Rider of the Year (1996), Australian Supermoto Champion and has won both the Spa and Bol D’Or 24 Hour World Endurance Championship races. Mark finished fourth in the 1997 Australian Superbike Championship and finished as high as sixth in a wildcard appearance at the 1998 Australian round of the Superbike World Championship. He then went on to ride some unreliable bikes in the 500cc MotoGP World Championship, including the BSL, Modenas and Pulse squads. He made 22 starts in 500 GP with a best finish of 13th at Mugello in 2001.
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