After two MotoAmerica Superbike rounds, the former national champ is still getting to know his new CBR1000RR SP2
With only a week between Circuit of The Americas and Road Atlanta, nothing really changed with the bike. It's been a battle, but we learned a lot this past weekend.
We haven't received some of the important things—motor parts, chassis stuff, electronics—that we need. The engine is bone-stock.
Two weekends ago in Texas, we had a little bit of traction control but we turned off the wheelie control because we couldn't make it work.
When we came into Road Atlanta, we turned off all of the electronics, so we didn't have any wheelie or traction control all weekend.
At a place like that, the bike is going to wheelie a lot. I smoked a rear disc every session because I had to drag the brake so much to keep the front end down.
I really didn't mind because I can ride the thing how want and get a better feel for what the bike is actually doing.
We've been going back and forth with some chassis stuff, trying to learn what this Honda likes. It pretty different from what we were used to with the Yamaha.
The Honda doesn't really want to slide. I like to slide a bike to help it finish the turn, but this thing wants to hook up again. Once it does that, it's "pumping" all the way out of the turn.
I like the new Ten Kate swingarm a lot for drive grip. I could tell how nice it was on the out lap at COTA; it didn't pump nearly as much. That was really encouraging.
We've got some new triple-clamps so we're playing with the steering—moving it forward, moving it backward. It's important stuff that we have to learn because no bike is the same.
In Texas, we were struggling getting the thing to turn, so we put the bike on its nose, trying to get more weight on the front end.
We had that same setup in Atlanta on Friday for practice and in the first Superbike race on Saturday afternoon. That was scary.
The front end wanted to knife and tuck more than anything that I've ridden in my life. That was the toughest bike I have ever had to ride throughout a whole race.
On Sunday, we leveled out the bike. In the past, with our R1s and R6s, we rode more of a level bike.
We've only been running the hard Dunlop front, the 7445. Last year, any time we threw the soft 2662 front on the Yamaha, we got a lot of chatter.
The Honda hasn't chattered much, so in warm up on Sunday morning, we tried the soft front. I liked it right away. It bites a little better and steers a little better through the center of the turn.
But we beat up the rear tire really bad. I only got four or five good laps out of the thing before it started to lose edge grip. I was really fighting, trying to get it to hook up.
Patience is the name of the game for us right now. Over race distance from Saturday to Sunday, we went 20 seconds faster. That's a pretty good improvement.