1st crash on the track - looking to learn from it - ZX6R Forum
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post #1 of 47 Old 01-13-2020, 02:58 PM Thread Starter
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1st crash on the track - looking to learn from it

So I'm posting this mainly to gain feedback from experienced racers here, but also because I feel lucky that my 1st crash wasn't as bad as some that I have seen or heard about (that same day 01/12/2020 at Homestead-Miami Speedway I saw the aftermath of a really bad crash, not sure the fate of the rider yet but he was airlifted away in a chopper). I believe any information you guys have to help me process this crash will be useful to me learning how to race. So it was my 3rd track day and I'll briefly describe my current bike set up and the crash.

This crash was a low side going about 45 mph, and I lost my front wheel just after tipping in to a hairpin turn right after a straightway. I was decelerating from about 120 mph in 5th gear about 100-200 yards out from the turn (I'm guessing from memory). I clicked down 3 gears in to 2nd with hard braking simultaneously, I felt the bike wobble (kind of like the way a fish swims). Then after I started giving the input to the bars to make the turn I lost the front. I believe I was still trail braking before I started to counter steer. This was something I was trying to incorporate into my riding that day, trail braking into the corners. I also believe that I may have lost the front right after I released all front brake. I have to edit and examine the gopro video with slow frame to confirm if that is in fact what happened. But this is what I feel had happened and my observations about the bike below may be an explanation.

Bike is all stock ZX6r engine and suspension, with stock ohlins steering damper. The upgrades are coro moto steel lines with the same stock brake pads. Tires are Michelin Road 5's which I don't use warmers, and this was my 3rd track day on those tires. I have been noticing that with the addition of the coro moto lines with the same pads, the bite is much sooner and stronger, but also has a weird scraping stickyness to it. What I mean is that it grabs right away, but it also has a sharp letting go feeling off the rotors when releasing the brakes. I noticed it first when I was rolling the bike down the ramp off my truck, and when I use front brake to control it, it's very bitey and scrapes the rotors. Before with stock rubber brake lines it was a smoother sliding feeling with the pads and rotors.

So does this sound familiar to anyone who races? Any relevant input would be much appreciated!!
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post #2 of 47 Old 01-13-2020, 03:19 PM
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Glad youíre okay! As an aside: make sure you inspect the engine mount spar that the affected frame slider attaches to; these bikes have been known to crack the attachment point when using frame sliders.
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post #3 of 47 Old 01-13-2020, 03:20 PM
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Glad you are OK, damage doesn't look to bad. Don't have much to input other than everything I've heard about the stock Ohlins damper is that it is weak. I ran a race version on the street on mine, a couple of spots where it would shake a bit like you describe was totally eliminated by the damper. Was the crash 1st lap out or later in the session? Road 5s don't take much time to warm up and understand they can get "greasy" when hot.
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post #4 of 47 Old 01-13-2020, 03:44 PM
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Their are a number of reasons you can crash like the way you described. Too much brake pressure, cold track, dirty track, cold tires, and from the sounds of it, possibly a mechanical issue with your brakes. Definitely make sure your brakes are working correctly.

It should be noted, you are using road tires. While the current lineup of tires is extremely good, you can only do so much. You may be asking too much of your Road 5s.

Also, post the GoPro footage. We like GoPro footage.


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post #5 of 47 Old 01-13-2020, 04:00 PM Thread Starter
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I will try to post it up tonight. The whole 20 minute session? Or should I just post the crash segment?

By the way, I'm open to all feedback on my riding and definitely okay with constructive criticism.
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post #6 of 47 Old 01-13-2020, 04:05 PM
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How many laps had you done in that session prior to the crash? Did you abruptly unload the front prior to the crash? Was there unnecessary bar input through the turn?
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post #7 of 47 Old 01-13-2020, 04:22 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jd41 View Post
How many laps had you done in that session prior to the crash? Did you abruptly unload the front prior to the crash? Was there unnecessary bar input through the turn?
This was 8 minutes in, so I think either my 3rd or 4th lap since some of the beginning time of the video was waiting to start the session. This was at turn 8, a hairpin after a straightway, and now as I think about it I had a funny feeling that I was rushing too many things at once at that particular approach to this turn. I was definitely braking a lot harder than I usually do, and doing so in a very short distance. I think my bar input was more abrupt since I was coming in faster than prior laps to this turn. And I don't know if I abruptly unloaded the front, but I think I lost the front as I let go of the brakes altogether. You can see both my hands in the video so you might be able to help me determine that. And that's why I'm speculating if there is something to the quick grabby and quick release feeling I'm getting with my brakes after putting steel lines while leaving stock pads. I'm thinking maybe I should upgrade the pads as well to EBC Double H.

Oddly as it sounds, I almost felt I was gonna crash. It's weird. Like as it was happening I was almost not surprised when the front broke traction. Anyone ever get the feeling?
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post #8 of 47 Old 01-13-2020, 04:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darkgoblin View Post
This was 8 minutes in, so I think either my 3rd or 4th lap since some of the beginning time of the video was waiting to start the session. This was at turn 8, a hairpin after a straightway, and now as I think about it I had a funny feeling that I was rushing too many things at once at that particular approach to this turn. I was definitely braking a lot harder than I usually do, and doing so in a very short distance. I think my bar input was more abrupt since I was coming in faster than prior laps to this turn. And I don't know if I abruptly unloaded the front, but I think I lost the front as I let go of the brakes altogether. You can see both my hands in the video so you might be able to help me determine that. And that's why I'm speculating if there is something to the quick grabby and quick release feeling I'm getting with my brakes after putting steel lines while leaving stock pads. I'm thinking maybe I should upgrade the pads as well to EBC Double H.

Oddly as it sounds, I almost felt I was gonna crash. It's weird. Like as it was happening I was almost not surprised when the front broke traction. Anyone ever get the feeling?
Yeah youíve got a lot going on there...the thing with brakes and trail braking is in how you let go of the lever and are you making a smooth ďhand offĒ from braking forces to cornering forces. In a perfect world this is seamless with no more or less force being applied to the tire.

Waiting on GoPro...all we can do is speculate at this point.
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post #9 of 47 Old 01-13-2020, 04:48 PM
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And yes. Itís normal to feel a crash coming.
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post #10 of 47 Old 01-13-2020, 10:21 PM Thread Starter
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Ok cool, I'm really looing forward to hearing the analysis. I can't post the video here apparently, so it's being uploaded to youtube now, gonna take about 40 minutes. The crash is at the 8:04 mark and after corner marshall clears me, I get back into the session at around the 11:30 mark and do a couple more laps. Here's the link:


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post #11 of 47 Old 01-14-2020, 04:56 AM
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Ok, so after watching the video up to the point of the crash there's a couple things I'd like to point out.

1) Your riding that day was aggressive for your pace. Lots of jerky movements with the intent of going fast but didn't actual add any speed. This combined with being held up by slower riders, could have altered your frame of mind and pushed you into making a mistake after the pass.

2) Michelin Road 5's are advertised as the "#1 for wet grip on the road". This is an indicator as to what type of riding they are best suited for. Yes, you can run them at a trackday, but they are not the right tire for trying to go fast or be aggressive with the bike. A Q3 or Rosso Corsa II or any other sticky sportbike tire would have been able to handle your ride on Saturday.

3) You wrecked early in the corner and with not much lean angle. This points to a tire and/or rider input issue. After reading what you said about the stock pads making a scraping noise and being very bity, it sounds like they might be worn out and the backer is making contact with the rotor. Stock pads are not going to be as aggressive as your saying, even with SS lines.

Check your pads and tell us what you find. Calm down around other riders, especially in Novice group. Make smooth movements and be predicable. Trying to "be fast" and actually being fast are two different things. One is a lot of wasted energy moving aggressive on the bike and the other looks like the rider is hardly working at all. Remember, it's a trackday. No one wins at a trackday. Just relax and work on small improvements to the fine motor skills and your reference points. Being concerned with getting a bump or being the fastest Novice will put you on the ground more often than not.

You're not slow, that is for sure. but you need to rein it in. Don't let this discourage you, its all part of learning.
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post #12 of 47 Old 01-14-2020, 06:49 AM
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8 minutes in?

Been there and done that! My first time at Laguna Seca lasted a total of 2.75 laps.

First... when pushing your limitations you'll be riding on the edge. That close to the edge it doesn't take much to slip off. So I'd actually chock this one up to learning curve. You state you were working on trail braking that day. Sounds like you just had a little too much speed going in and lost the front. That is a lot of speed to drag off before tipping in!

How long had it been since you were on the right side of the tire? If the track had a lot of left turns... you may not have been up to temp on the right side of the tire. Add to that the fact that you're actually pushing harder into turns to work on braking. Ragged edge + colder side of tire + 8 minutes into a session = oopsie!

At least you weren't wearing a control rider vest like I was I was supposed to be one of those guys that knew what the phuck he was doing and I crashed before I even got to lead the C group first session of the day.
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post #13 of 47 Old 01-14-2020, 07:49 AM
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Ok cool, I'm really looing forward to hearing the analysis. I can't post the video here apparently, so it's being uploaded to youtube now, gonna take about 40 minutes. The crash is at the 8:04 mark and after corner marshall clears me, I get back into the session at around the 11:30 mark and do a couple more laps. Here's the link:

https://youtu.be/mZ8KeD91LT8
You're not on the brakes at all going into the corner, and likely crashed because of two main things: Over muscling input to the bars on an unloaded tire. Road/wet tire or not, a Pilot Road 5 can run that pace all day.

You have decent pace on clear track, but you need to work on your ability to setup passes in advanced. You aren't thinking ahead with your riding, running up on slower riders and not adjusting your line to get around them sooner. Because of that, you're not catching your downshift in time, so you run up on a slower rider, and don't downshift until after you try opening the bike up and fail to pass the slower rider quickly because you're in a gear too high.

If you started to scan ahead and look further down the track, you'll be able to adjust your lines to pass traffic that much sooner and get the bike in the proper gear at the right time so you can execute a pass that's cleaner and safer.

Your next TD out, I would not focus on your pace at all - you have really solid pace as evident when there's not traffic in front of you.
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post #14 of 47 Old 01-14-2020, 11:31 AM Thread Starter
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Wow, what an immense resource for me to get all this input from you guys!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neonmarine View Post
Trying to "be fast" and actually being fast are two different things. One is a lot of wasted energy moving aggressive on the bike and the other looks like the rider is hardly working at all.
Thank you for pointing this out, I do agree that my ego got ahead of myself during this 5th session, for whatever reason. I see the difference when I watch advanced rider's videos on this same track, every turn and movements are fluid, and that all chained together saves the most time Iím understanding.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Otto Man View Post
You're not on the brakes at all going into the corner, and likely crashed because of two main things: Over muscling input to the bars on an unloaded tire.
I watched it again in slow frame and I do believe I put a sudden jerk into the bars right when a lost it. It goes along with being rushed because I was pushing harder needlessly rather than focusing on smoother approach and more controlled movements.
Also, Otto Man, your breakdown is right on point, the strategic aspect of what I am doing out there has not come into play much for me. I also realize Iím not looking down the track enough. I think it goes along with needing to first having the right mind set and getting more confident and comfortable with smooth operation, as Neonmarine was saying.

So Iím gonna get new tires now, also EBC double H pads (will post what I find about the existing pads condition). Next track day is this Sunday at PBIR a track that I have been on twice already. Iím thinking, and also have been told by others, that I should do Intermediate there. That way Iím not held up by slower riders and I can learn better lines. Iím gonna keep my ego in check and focus on more control and being smoother, and looking further down and incorporating some more strategy as I get more comfortable.

If I post more videos, will you guys please review and give me more feedback?
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post #15 of 47 Old 01-14-2020, 12:49 PM
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Maybe its just me but from that camera POV it looks like you have a firm grip on the clip-ons when it should be relaxed. Could translate to unwanted bar input. How was your BP?

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