First race round - Went out first practice session Saturday morning crossing my fingers hoping that the new linkage would sort out my issues and lo and behold it did! Ignition cut all the way to 6th gear and blipped all the way back down to 2nd down the backstraight at full pace :) Shifting was a little firm so I spent the next few sessions messing around with the shift voltages in the kit ECU, got it a little bit better but not 100% to my liking, I'll have to spend more time on that during a trackday weekend.
Spent the rest of the day getting acclimated to the new bike and trying to get down to my previous pace before my crash back in May. After tucking the front end on my Gen4 I can definitely tell I'm lacking alot of confidence on corner entry and midcorner now (The nice new bike and paintjob definitely doesn't help with breaking through mental barriers either! lol)
After all of practice and qualifying was done I was only about a second off of my previous pace thankfully. After being off of a bike for 6 months in addition to the crash I was hoping for only being about 3-4 seconds slower but I guess it's hard to hold myself back! I'm like a light switch, either on or off! lol.
Sunday race day - First race was the 12 lap Superbike 1000 Grande Corsa. My mentality going into this was to just use it as more practice time for the sprint races later on in the day and to focus on proper mechanics and fundamentals. Had a new front Pirelli SC2 on and a SC1 takeoff on the rear with a few laps on it. I believe I was gridded up 4th with only 2 guys on the front row. Right off the start my teammate Todd (fastest 1000 amateur in the series) who was gridded up 5th beat me to the first corner and just checked out that first lap, after a few more laps an expert who I finished consistently ahead of last year passed me as well. Ended up 5th overall. Best time was about 2 seconds off my usual pace.
Second race - Superstock 1000 Sprint. Gridded up 4th, entered first corner 5th after a veteran expert rocketed past both Todd and I from the 6th grid spot, accidentally downshifted all the way to first entering the first corner letting the lead group get away a bit. Passed that expert on the 2nd lap on the backstraight to take 4th position back. After a few more laps I took a peek behind me out of turn 4 curious to see where Todd was, only to find him right on my tail, lol fuck! Put my head down and took some defensive lines going into the hard braking zones where most of the passing occurs to try and keep Todd behind me. Ended up finishing 4th with a new race PB by about 2 tenths of a second and towing Todd to a new PB for him as well!
Final race - Superbike 1000 Sprint. Gridded up 4th again, had a great start passing one of the fast guys on the front row entering into turn 1 in 3rd place only for him to ride around me and snatch it right back before the flip to the right lol. Opened up a 1-2s gap from Todd in 5th place, but after a few laps he clawed that gap back after I made a mistake going too deep into turn 4 and almost clipping the curbing in turn 8 on the same lap. After that I concentrated on getting a good drive onto the back straight and guarding the inside line in the heavy braking zone into turn 9 to not give him a chance to dive up inside me. Plan worked and I finished 4th again.
Overall I'm really pleased with how the Gen5 is, the rear is way more planted than my Gen4 ever was and the front forks are truly amazing for still being stock. Those will be getting swapped out soon however with DDS cartridges.
The MPH Racing team bikes lined up for a photo op
Trying to keep Todd at bay