The fact that I had raced one whole season of TVS’ YMRP championship meant getting used to the motorcycle’s dynamics and engine character wasn’t an issue. In fact, I am the most confident on the Apache 200 around MMRT. However, the tyres we ran in those races, the rear, in particular, had a wider section as compared to these. And the difference was quite telling the moment I rode out of the pits.
The motorcycle felt extremely tippy and eager to lean. A slight input to the handlebar and the motorcycle tipped without even the slightest reluctance which, to be honest, was a bit unnerving on an open track. Hence, I had to keep my inputs smoother and more progressive. Also, my judgement said the tyres require at least one full lap to get warmed enough to allow me to push harder. So, the first lap was spent getting used to the bike’s behavior and letting the rubbers heat up.
Now, during the second lap, I entered C1 at a little faster pace without rolling off the throttle much. Despite this corner being bumpy and the bike wallowing a bit, the tyres held on to the surface without squirming around. This was followed by braking hard into C2 and C3 and the front retained its composure, instilling an abundance of confidence. By the time I charged into the following corners and commenced the third lap, I had already gotten along well with the slim tyre’s agile responses.
With each consecutive lap, I not only started braking later into corner entries but also kept rolling on the throttle earlier at exits and the feedback and grip from the tyres never betrayed my trust. Well, my skills might not be honed enough to exploit the full potential of these tyres. But my fellow journos, who are way faster and more aggressive around the track, too felt that these rubbers are phenomenal in terms of grip and feel.