Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000 Stage 3 First Ride
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Despite the DMG/AMA taking the super out of Superbike with its more production based rules by no means can these bikes be classified as “easy to ride”.
Recently I visited Northern California’s fabulous Thunderhill Raceway for a Pacific Track Time trackday. Part of the afternoon I spun some laps aboard the No. 58 Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000 Stage 3
Project Superbike as piloted by Executive Editor Steve Atlas at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca during last month’s Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix
Having limited seat time on this sort of bike I always savor the opportunity to rip around at the helm of a properly set-up racebike—especially at a racetrack with as many twists and turns as Thunderhill. From the second I pulled out on track I was surprised by just how similar our bike felt to the machine piloted by seven-time AMA Superbike Champ, Mat Mladin during his final season before retirement. You can read the full assessment of his championship winning machine in the 2009 Mat Mladin Suzuki GSX-R1000
It was also a reminder as to how hard you’ve got to ride these things. Where you can get away with being lazy at the controls of a softly sprung 1000cc sportbike, on a real racebike you have to be way more aggressive for it to perform due to its more rigid set-up. If you steer into a turn lazily the chassis protests by trying to pop you out of the foam seat for riding like a wuss. Be more assertive and maneuver your body at the right moment and all of the sudden the bike starts performing like the corner carving machine it was engineered to be.
And despite the DMG/AMA taking the super out of Superbike with its more production based rules by no means can these bikes be classified as “easy to ride”. After just five or six laps I was huffing and puffing like I just ran up 10 flights of stairs. My shoulders were burning from pulling on the handlebar and my knees felt as if they were going to implode from being so tightly wedged between the rearsets and the fuel tank.
It’s crazy that guys like Josh Hayes, Tommy Hayden, and most recently our own, Steve Atlas, could actually go out there and wrestle around bikes like this—racing wheel to wheel with a bunch of other maniacs for in excess of 30 minutes.
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