The race began with me in 12th and last spot. But, I had already checked my first ambition box. I had qualified. And now, I just had to make sure I wasn’t lapped. Not finishing last wasn’t even on the agenda anymore. So, I decided I was going to ride hard, as hard as I could with no self-preservation in mind. But, then I saw the rest go into C1. And immediately after seeing them enter the corner with such pace and commitment, I dropped all plans of ‘non-self-preservation’.
I didn’t want to crash. I didn’t want to break bones. Hell, I didn’t even want to sprain anything. And, they could lap me as many times as they liked. Needless to say, half a lap later, I couldn’t see anybody else. They were gone.
Now, it was just the RR310 and I. And with my mind not racing anymore, I started to enjoy the bike a lot more. Compared to the street version – which I had ridden on this very track, less than a month ago – the Cup bike is way more instant in its power delivery. And the quick throttle only exaggerates the effect. So every time you start rolling on the throttle at corner exits, it seems the Apache has been whipped. It just shoots off compared to the stock bike.
You also find yourself approaching your braking markers at a significantly higher speed with the Cup bike. But, here’s the thing – the race motorcycle, courtesy the new brakes, stops better as well. There’s more bite and feedback, and it is easier to trail the brakes on the new race version.
Then there’s the handling. The motorcycle absolutely stunned me with its turn-in ability. It felt light and precise, and it was on its pegs in no time. But, there’s no twitchiness to it. It also feels intuitive and willing during quick direction changes. And no matter how much I thought I was leaning it, there was always room for more! I must say a lot of the credit here also goes to the new TVS Protorq tyres; they were communicative, grippy, and an absolute joy.