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My new Panigale V4, part 5 – trackday!

Posted on August 03, 2018 by acruhl

(Sorry I didn’t get any good pictures, there was no photographer. So here’s a picture of the tire after the day was over.)
First read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4.

So I finally got the Panigale V4 to a track day. Unfortunately I am pretty out of shape right now and I didn’t get in as many laps as I wanted to, but that might have been a blessing in disguise. More on that later.

I was lucky enough to be invited to a private track day at Inde Motorsports Ranch near Willcox. I have hundreds of laps around this track, but unfortunately the last time I was here was years ago. Somehow the layout came back to me like I was just on it the day before because I was hitting my marks and getting my knee down by the 2nd lap out. Wow. I surprised myself. This is a 2 1/2 mile lap with more than 20 corners! It’s easy to forget where you’re going!

A few days before I had Evan Steel Performance help me set sag and clickers to get a decent baseline. For the most part, the bike did what I wanted it to so this was good. Maybe toward the end of the day I could have played with clickers a bit but I didn’t because I just needed laps. Next time.

Ok, so on to the juicy info. My first impression is this thing is very, very fast. Like, the fastest in a straight line that I have ever ridden. I saw an indicated 160MPH in 4th at the end of the straight which is not bad. But it’s not scary because it’s not trying to highside me or wheelie out of control. This is obviously down to electronics. I had it in Race mode, and I think I made a few changes (DWC 1, DTC 2) but otherwise left it alone. Probably a good way to describe how it worked was pretty natural. It felt like a way, way faster 600. It went side to side like a 600, and you could hammer the throttle out of corners like a 600 and not worry that much (again, due to electronics). It would wheelie a little and spin, just like my old 600 did when I was racing. Nothing too severe. This bike is phenomenal. Super duper fast but manageable through electronics… It’s changing my opinion of riding high powered bikes on the track which I never liked before.

On to (stock) Pirelli Supercorsa V3 tires. I’m not sure that these are such a huge improvement over the Supercorsa V2. I set pressures at 30 front and 26 rear which is somewhere in the range of recommended for track use. The front gave me a few warnings, pretty normal for a street tire. I just rode around it. But it still performed pretty good. The rear was spinning pretty much the whole time after the first session. A guy riding behind me said I was laying down lines on a lot of exits. I felt like I was as well. The tire is pretty worn about halfway to the center from the edge where I’m straightening up and driving off the corner. I let 2 pounds of air out of it and it made very little difference, if any. The track temperature was pretty high, this might have contributed. As a matter of fact, I’m sure it contributed because Pirelli says the sides of the rear tire are SC2 compound, which is not ideal for hot conditions.. In the end I’m not sure any tire other than a full race slick is suited to a bike with this much power though. But the way these tires tear themselves up on the street and then spin so much at the track… This strikes me as Pirelli making an “appearances” tire as much as a good performing tire. A tire that looks like you ran a WSBK race after a street ride probably makes people feel pretty good about themselves, but doesn’t do much for traction on the racetrack so far in my experience… I’ll buy another set and try again probably, unless I decide to just get DOT race tires (SC0 or 1!) and try those.

The suspension was working pretty good, other than maybe a few extra bounces in places that the clickers can probably solve. The rear is preloaded pretty hard from the factory and did a pretty good job of supporting the rear under acceleration.

Now for electronics… I have to admit I don’t have a lot of time on bikes at the track with so many electronics. I really don’t know how to adjust other than just ride it and feel it out. The quickshifter worked very well in both directions (although I missed a 2nd to 3rd shift once under full power, probably not the quickshifter’s fault). It really makes life easier. Traction control was allowing the tire to spin quite a bit coming off corners, and this is at DTC 2. I wanted to try 1 but I never did. I didn’t change DSC (slide control). I kinda wish I set it lower so it would allow a bit more sideways motion when the rear tire broke loose, but anyways. I didn’t adjust engine brake control, didn’t feel like I needed too. It had some engine braking, which was good. I never felt ABS intervene. I was worried that it would. To be honest, this is not really a hard braking track so I’ll have to test it elsewhere. DWC (wheelie control) was set to 1 and I never got a wheelie exiting corners hard in 2nd gear. I felt like I should have though. I remember getting wheelies in 4th gear on my friends old ZX-10R race bike so I’m sure DWC is doing something here. Maybe I’ll try turning it off for the fun of it… The 1199 didn’t have it and it would wheelie hard exiting onto the straight in 2nd gear, so I know it’s working on this bike.

I’m a bit disappointed in my own performance. I normally start working out in some fashion before I go to the track but I did nothing this time. I really need to start running again or get some good cardio workout because that was my biggest issue, no stamina. Then again, it was hot and humid (typical Arizona monsoon season weather) and everyone was suffering to some extent. But probably me most. It didn’t help that I’m out there trying to ride to my full potential in the first sessions either. I should have taken it a lot easier and worked up to the pace. Ironically, the last session of the day I was really too tired to ride, but this forced me to relax and save energy and I’m pretty sure I was going just as fast as when I was really trying hard and tiring myself out. It’s a reminder that riding fast is mostly mental, and I really need to remember that and work up to it instead of just going for it.

Looking forward to my next track day. I think I can ride these tires 1 more time if I don’t wear them out on the street. But I might just go for some DOT race tires or slicks, we’ll see. There’s lots of interesting tires out there. Hopefully next time I will play with the electronics and suspension clickers more as well. Next time!

(Next post: Panigale V4 vs. Panigale V4S comparison at the track, yes I’m a lucky guy….)

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