Neevesy's track tips: Tyres

By Michael Neeves -

Riding Skills

 29 October 2009 16:15

There are lots of ways to go fast around a racetrack. Just look at Rossi and Doohan, or Biaggi and Bayliss - their riding styles are racing lines are wildly different but the awe-inspiring end result for these naturally-talented World Champions is just the same.

Although there isn’t really a right or wrong way to ride a bike fast around a track, we’ve put together some brief tips and tricks to get you started and help you get the best out of your next trackday.      

We’ll run you through such things as braking, body position, turning, cornering and throttle control, but first this - tyres:

TYRES

  • Make sure tyres are in good condition – tyre pressures are critical.
  • For the track, pressures should be dropped significantly. With the tyres working hard the air inside heats up, expands and overinflates the tyre. This reduces the size of the contact patch and reduces grip.
  • For something like a Pirelli Super Corsa, track pressures are around 27.5-29 psi rear/30.5-31psi front (they would be 36/36 on the road). Check the recommended pressures from the manufacture depending on your tyre.
  • Remember to put the pressures back up for the road.
  • Unless you’re running proper racing slicks or race compound treaded tyres like SC0, SC1, SC2 Pirelli Super Corsas or K0, K1, K2 Metzeler Racetecs you don’t need tyre warmers. Road-compound sports tyres are grippy and are designed to warm up quickly and maintain their heat better than a race tyre. This will save you the hassle of paddock stands, tyre warmers and a generator. Spending a lap or two to warm your tyres up isn’t the end of the world on a trackday.
  • Be careful using race tyres on a cold trackday as it’s hard to keep the heat in them and maintain grip.
  • For wet-weather racing tyres, pressures are usually a couple of psi up on dry track settings.
  • Avoid using tyre warmers for wets on a trackday. They’ll be warm when you go out on track and gradually cool down and lose grip when you’re out there. It’s best to go out and feel for grip as the tyres warm up lap by lap.