Motorcycle Braking on the Racetrack – To briefly recap, reference markers are marks or objects on or near the racetrack that you will use to know exactly when to perform actions such as applying the brakes, letting go of the brakes, turning the motorcycle, or opening the throttle.
Hitting these same markers lap after lap allows for consistent lap times and keeps you from getting « lost » on the track, with more markers generally equating to more consistency. But hitting the same reference markers over the course of multiple track days will also only allow you to go the same pace, lap after lap, track day after track day.
There is no progress in terms of pace, even as your comfort level and riding ability come up. So which markers do you move and by how much?
While the answer to the “how much” end of that question is dependent on rider skill, comfort level, and bike setup, the answer to “which markers to move” is a bit easier to formulate: The general recommendation is the braking markers (where you apply the brake) and throttle-application markers (where within a corner you open the throttle back up).
Reference Markers for Motorcycle Braking
Note of course that these markers will, regardless of skill level or comfort level, need to be adjusted in small margins, and moving one can have a direct impact on the ability to hit the other. Move your brake marker too far forward for example, and you could be carrying so much speed into the corner that you’ll be unable to get back to the throttle, which in turn affects your drive off the corner and your speed down the successive straight, and of course ruin your lap time… And by the way do not try to take the cue point of a highest level rider because it will certainly lead to a crash! You’ll have to go smoothly!
How do we do “smoothly” for motorcycle braking? Well, you will have to slowly shorten up your braking zone, moving your brake markers just a few feet at a time. But work only in one turn because trust me you won’t have the ability to think about every turn of the track.
Once you think you’re quite good in one move to the other, and you’ll see the lap time dropping. Of course, you could be riding aggressively and push your brake marker 10 feet up the track, closing your eyes and praying that you’ll make it… You might even be faster for one lap, but it’s clearly not the safest way to improve.
As you begin to feel more and more confident with your motorcycle braking, you can move your marker farther forward and start grabbing the brakes harder as you get into the corner. The end goal is to arrive at the apex of the corner at or near the same speed as before but to set that speed in a shorter distance.
Once you’re consistent and enough comfortable with your new brake maker and your corner entry now is time to work on your throttle-application marker by opening your throttle a bit sooner than usual. What are the benefits? First, it will take a load off of the suspension and settle the chassis.
And then you’ll be able you to carry more speed through and out of the corner. The obvious risk is carrying to much speed and running wide in the middle or exit of the turn. Try to move your reference marker 2 feet back and then another foot if you’re still able to finish the corner off with ease.
The final goal is to push your limits, the ones on your bike and to ride on the edge of them.