2005 season

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Note: If you can read German, read the German reports. The English reports are often just short summaries.

Hockenheim Club Circuit / Germany, 29. April 2005, Team Motobike

Again I get there on the bike. But after 10km, I remark that the brakes got hot and had to turn around, because the pads were stuck. One hour later than planned I arrive in Hockenheim, just early enough sign up (it's a "Ducati for you" day tomorrow :-)) and to drive the last "Tourist Session" on the GP circuit to warm up the tyres. Some very crazy drivers there, the session gets stopped after some nasty accidents. Beer and barbeque in the pits.
Friday mornig, I have a hard time to get up as early as some mad Ducati Guys in the pits. The TL has also a hard time, doesn't start for the first turn. Looks like a dead battery. Two strong guys of our pit try to push start me, but no success. It takes me that long to get jump start cables, that the turn is just over when I want to leave the pits. I almost highside it on the parking lot when turning some laps there instead.
I'm better prepared for the 2nd turn. Jump starting it again, but early enough this time. All my friends overtake me, Matze the fastest even laps me. Damn they're fast!
In the following turns, things get better. I get used to the Michelin race tyres and the Club Circuit.
In the lunch session (there was no break), I start behind Tom on his R1 and can surprisingly follow him. When he has some troubles to overtake a bunch of Ducati in the Sachskurve, I decide to overtake him on the inside. Obviously, he was surprised. Even when he got me back just before the end of the session, that was a big bib motivation for me :-)
After lunch, my driving improves. I don't get overtaken anymore. But on the other hand, I enjoy it to overtake all these Ducatis. The preferred corners to overtake are Nordkurve, entry Zigzag and Sachskurve. But if necessary, it also works on the outside of the entry to Motodrom :-) The lines and brake points are in memory. It makes a lot of fun like this!

Foto Foto
Maurer, Werse Alle Fotos Ph. Maurer

Motorbike and tyres work very well. The Power Race tyres need 3 laps on the Club Circuit to warm up completely on the left (outer) side. The new TLR brakes improve braking a lot, excellent brake control with less lever force. The Ohlins steering damper improves handling most remarkably in the slow corners like Zigzag, where I can throw the TL from the right to the left and again to the right side without much effort.
In the evening, I'm very tyred but also very happy about the day. And of course I'm happy that I could overtake so many bikes in my first track day without instructor. All was well organized, thumb up for Team Motobike.

Anneau du Rhin / France, 19./20. May 2005, Speer Racing

I signed up by a group buy on the german TL board. Along with two friends from Switzerland we got there by bike.
Thursday started well, I was awake and the TL caused no technical problems. Surprisingly, knee and footpegs touched down in the first turn. I feel like I drove yesterday already on this track, the lines are still in memory. Huge fun to drive with Gunna, Peter, Wolfgang, Martin, Sascha and Terni together in the same group. Gunna, Peter and Wolfgang are faster than me, but they remark that I know the lines on this track and thus follow me for some laps to learn the lines. Peter and Gunna are filming with the camcorder on the tank. Towards the evening, I get a little bit faster, I'm almost never overtaken. The TL runs perfect, the long gearing is no disadvantage. The tyres work extremely well, but wear fast. In the last turn I remark that the rear tyre is completely over and stop after 5 laps.
In the evening, I buy a set of Michelin Pilot Power tyres from Gunna and Wolfgang mounts the tyres. After dinner, we watch photos and videos on Peters notebook.
Friday begins again slowly, the tyres are still brand new. But I remark after just some laps, that the Pilot Power works extremely well. It handles almost as good as the Power Race, but has very even grip. And it has immediately grip!!! In the 2nd turn, I drive already better than yesterday, Angie stops a low 1:29 time, surprisingly fast for me. Now the barrier is broken and I drive very well. The following turn, Angie stops continous 1:29 times. Started from the front, I lap almost the whole field! All runs fantastic, this is without doubt the best tyre I drove so far. Just before lunch I slow a bit down after I missed some breakpoints.
But in the first turn after lunch, it happens. I am close behind a UNO TLS, on the exit of the fast FlicFlac, when I suddenly loose the rear in this small and unimportant left hander that follows the fast esses. That was at full throttle in 4th gear, approximately 150kph, I am completely sideways and cannot avoid the highside. The TL touches down first, then I land head down on track, my shoulder touches down hard, I slid through the grass into the crash barrier. As a reflex, I jump over the barrier, take off my helmet and begin to check which bone is still there. Wolfgang drives by slowly.

Foto Foto
Kampmann, etc Philipp Maurer

The ambulance is there before I know where it hurts. The doctor points on my shoulder. No more leathers, but a hole and a rashed shoulder. But I can move and it seems nothing is broken. Back to the pits, two friends drive me to the hospital to clean and stitch the wound.
In the evening, a friend drives me and my TL (on the trailer) to the hotel. Thanks to some friends there, the evening got by fast. Saturday moring I was picked up by my parents with the van.
I don't know exactly why I crashed, but I'm sure I had a lot of luck. A highside at this speed could end worse than with a rashed shoulder. A big thank you to all people who helped me after the accident.

Video (10MB). A lap at Anneau du Rhin with me, filmed by Peter Kampmann behind me.

Magny Cours / France, 20/21. August 2005, Suzuki Switzerland

The yearly racing event organized by Suzuki Switzerland. Two days, both Club and GP tack available, Dinner included.
Friday move to Magny Cours by rented van. 5.5hours, it rains all time. 00:30 at the pits.

Saturday: We had luckily something for breakfast because there was no Restaurant open.
Inscription: Finn and I are in the beginners group. What??? OK, if all others drive as good as their equipment can run, then that could be OK (there are at least 100 GSX-R 1000 there, half of them the most recent model). Technical control: "Please cover your speedo with tape". No noise restriction.
Theory lesson. Boring, nothing new for me. TLS has Pilot Powers mounted, very good for the still slightly wet track. But it's drying. First turn: Behind the instructor until he waves us through, as discussed before. Thus we drive 5 very slow laps behind the instructor to learn the racing line. Then we make him wave us through (btw, Finn told me later that there was nobody behind him at this time. Nobody could follow, even when we were very slow).Now the disorder on track gets a lot worse because people from other groups follow us when we overtake them. I remark for the first time this unbelievable slow Hayabusa driver when I lap him for the 3rd time. But hey, the little Club track is really fun!
Now we have to refuel. But as usual in France, the fuel station has closed all time except when you can't get there. Our German friend Gunna saves our next turn when he hands us out a full canister of fuel.
2nd turn. We start first, to drive at least some free laps ahead. But no, this slow Hayabusa is in the way in the 2nd lap. Overtook him on the outside with a smile... well the track isn't that easy! Some difficult corners where you cannot see the apex. I was never overtaken, but I lapped the average field about one time. Our Hayabusa Friend was of course more than one lap behind (did I say that he drives strange lines?).
Refuelling again. We cancel our 2nd theory lesson to refuell all bikes and the van. Usually done in 10 minutes. But we need at least one hour, because the guy there is unbelievable complicated and has no motivation for his work. Diesel was damn expensive (1.45 Euro). We manage to be ready for the first turn on the GP track.
3rd session, GP track. Again behind the instructor to learn the line. Hayabusa slowman manages to drive between me and Finn in pitlane. Overtook him at Adelaide because he drove such a stupid line (I wanted to learn the right line!). The instructor drives quite fast, big fun! But huge speed differences, we're lapping again. Anyway, a very good starting point on the GP track.
Lunch break. 4th session, GP track. Finn and I have some fights on track, I can brake him out and he out accelerates me just two turns later. Big big fun!! Unfortunately there's so much traffic, that we loose each other. I have to overtake in packs of 10 to get past all slower bikes. Gunna clocks me at 2:13 with a lot of traffic.
Finn and I ask for a group change. I decide to mount the Pirelli Supercorsa Pro. The Bridgestone guy is a bit disappointed that I let him remove the good old BT014 and mount the Supercorsas :)
The last session is used to test and break in the new tyres. Whow, this tyre rocks from the 2nd lap on!!! Very very good feeling with these tyres, front and rear are a lot better than the Powers. I end the session early, just to see how a GSX-R 1k highsides spectacularly int he last corner.
Drag race on the straight of the GP circuit. No TL joins, it seems everyone is concerned about the clutch... The dinner just after was offered by Suzuki Switzerland. There was some publicity for Suzuki. Everyone liked it, the models were pretty :)

Sunday: No breakfast because there was no restaurant open. Damn French work moral... at least we can change group. Finn remarks in the pit, that our best friend - Mr Hayabusa slowman - changed group as well. Great. Ah well, the weather is good, the track fantastic, so don't worry.
First session on the Club Circuit. Overtook Mr Hayabusa with completely cold Supercorsas on the outside of the chicane... but otherwise, the pace ist much faster in this group.
2nd session, GP track. Oh, what a great feeling! Got overtaken in the first lap by the tyre warmer guys, but was able to hang on from the 2nd lap on. The Supercorsas work much better accelerating out of these long turns. Except for the 180° lefthander, the lines are OK. The bars slap a bit over bumps, once I almost couln't save it after the bump after Adelaide hairpin. Set the steering damper some clicks harder. A crazy two stroker overtakes me on the inside of the Adelaide hairpin at the next lap. Full throttle over the bump ended in a monster wheelie. Ah well, let him go...
3rd turn, GP track. I follow pit neighbour Ruedi Kehl (he used to drive an UNO TL, now on a GSX-R). I was amazed that I could follow him. I could learn lines in a few corners! When accelerating out of corners and on the backstraight, I had to duck quite a bit to follow the red GSX-R 750. Fortunately I could close the gap on the brakes again. We were overtaken by some fast guys. So I overtook Ruedi and drove away. His comment was "2.05 or faster". And "stop clutching on upshifts, you disturb the suspension with the huge load changes". Well, he's right!
Lunch break, with a big smile on the face. Skipped the afternoon session on the Club Circuit.
5th session, GP track again. I had to force my brain not to clutch. It worked after about two laps. The rear tyre signalled first signs of wear. A GSX-R K5 almost touched me on the outside footrest in the fast left hander after Chateau d'Eau, what a dumbass to overtake there. Another K5 highsides at Imola and lands not very soft in the gravel pit. I miss a shift before the last corner and slam it into first gear instead of 2nd, rear tyre pulls a looooooong black line. Well, I think that's enough for this session, end it a bit early. The rear supercorsa looks destroyed, I add a bit of compression damping.
6th and last session. Not much traffic anymore. What a great session, again together with Ruedi. But he was in a hurry this time and I could just barely follow him. I remarked that he was early on the brakes at Imola and thus got him there about at mid session. It became clear that I am much faster at the back straight when I don't clutch at upshifts, thus I have to brake earlier. End of the session and two great track days on a fantastic track.
We drove straight home, it rained very very bad all time. 01:45am at home.


Anneau du Rhin / France, 8. September 2005, Speer Racing

Signed-up again with Wolfgang. Target was to setup the suspension and of course to stay upright.
Seven turns of 20 minutes scheduled, 4 in the morning and 3 in the afternoon. Good place in the pits. Weather looks good but will be hot.
The first session gets red flagged after just some minutes because someone had an accident. Well, was a good warm up lap. Opportunity to take some photos of Frank who drives in the group after us.
2nd session. Again red flagged, just before it ended anyway. The slowest drivers of our group have already been put in the slowest group, but there are still some slow people lacking experience in the group: Looking all time back and changing line to let you pass. Ah well. Not many fast drivers in our group.
Time to setup the suspension. As a first step we set sag. Front was OK, rear needed to be increased. Thus changed the spring preload on the Wilbers.
3rd session was the first without red flag. Suspension isn't perfect yet, it runs a bit wide. 2nd part of suspension setup: Even damping front and rear. Front responded much worse than rear. Thus put some magic fork seal greas from Wolfgang behind the dust seals and less compression damping. Responds much better now, but would it be too soft?
4th session, last before lunch. Suspension feels better. Because there aren't any extreme braking points here, the soft fork works OK. It's clear that I'm still relatively slow in the section where I crashed this spring. Wolfgang moaning "In your outlap behind you, I almost fell asleep in the fast esses". Ah well, he's right but I still had the crash in my head and needed to heat up these Supercorsa tyres in the first lap. But a nice turn with Wolfgang following me all time.
Lunch break. Two or three pieces of Pizza and lots of water!!! Frank changes clutch springs.
5th session. Turns out well, Christine clocks me at 1:28, thus as fast as before my crash. The tyres work extremely well in these hot temperatures, the torn up rear tyre wears back to a clean tyre. Very amazing! It looks almost perfect after this session and has still rubber left! The driver isn't so happy in the heat, I almost can't drink enough water.

Fotos von Frank etc

6th session. A mad Honda 600RRR driver overtakes me and brakes much too hard before a fast corner. Idiot!! Almost crash at 230km/h! Well, keep cool now!! I watched him one and a half lap. Then he hesitated to overtake a slower driver, so I overtook them both on the brakes. And drove a quick lap. Nobody behind me anymore. I end the session early, to see where the Honda driver drives into the pit. Spoke a word with him, he was obviously a novice on this track. His girlfriend claims that she clocked us at 1:24. Much too optimistic in my opinion...
7th and last session. Rear tyre still running strong. Martin waves me from the gravel pit on my outlap. Oh no! Luckily it wasn't bad, just damaged fairings and brake levers. Wolfgang and I rejoin at green flag.

Anneau du Rhin / France, 1. October 2005, Dannhoff-Motorsport

End of season together with Finn and the German "Mamuts". The weather forecast was bad, so we borrowed my uncles' big van.
Saturday morning, a bit chaotic sign-up, upon recommendation of two friends we go for the fastest group.
First session. In the hurry I forgot to check the air pressure in the Pilot Powers, it was much too high. Short pitstop after just one lap to correct the air pressure. I rejoin just after Finn, but cannot follow his pace. The bike runs wide at the entry of corners and is very unstable when accelerating. The setup of the Pirelli Supercorsa doesn't work at all with the Powers. I need about 5 laps to get used to it and can almost catch up to Finn. Just before the end of the session, Finn lowsides his TLR in the 2nd corner, a slow lefthander. Fortunately he seems unhurt. End of session.
Finns bike is quite damaged, all levers on the left side broken, fairing scratched. But his leathers look worse: A hole of 20cm lenght at his right leg. IXS should introduce quality control... End of the track day for Finn.
2nd turn. Just enough time to set the steering damper two cliks harder. Tom and Limbo are much faster than me, they're out of sight after just three corners. I get slowly used to the conditions and drive some not so bad laps. But the (slightly old) Pilot Powers get very wobbly again, so I don't push it anymore.
Just after the 2nd turn it began to rain. Nobody of our group intended to drive again, except me! Reiner gave me some hints and thus I set the suspension to very soft and left alone. Well, I didn't ever drive THAT slow! I had really no confidence, each smallest bump in corner meant a little slide. Accelerating in corner is virtually impossible. Braking on a straight line is what works best. I quit the session when the rain gets worse.
I drive again before lunch, when it rained a bit less. Set the steering damper to fully loose for the feeling. I improve my lap times, but only because I'm accelerating and braking faster - on straight lines. Some guys with rain tyres drive much faster than me. Not very funny. At last I could enjoy a full size pizza for lunch :)
At about half past two, the rain stopped. But when I finally had the leathers and rain suit on and the bike warmed up, it rained again. Well, let's go anyway. But I couldn't see anything anymore after just some laps. So pitstop to clean the visor with antifog and anti water stuff. On track again, I drove some laps together with a rain tyre equipped Ducati 900SS. We were a good team: He was incredibly slow accelerating and braking, I was incredibly slow in corners. The result were some not so bad laps. But the Pilot Powers got worse and worse, the rear tyre spun already when you just thought about accelerating in corner (a look at the tyre in the pit proved that it spun all time). Well, enough for today, put the bikes into the van and back to the hotel.

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