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Old 05-24-2010, 09:42 AM   #21
MOKE1K
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Originally Posted by Kevin_Duke View Post
Timely that you bring up this topic. After riding Assen, I came up with a list of racetracks I've had the pleasure of sampling. I'm now up to about 35, which brings up the question of my favorites. They're nearly impossible to rank, but here's my top 5 American and world tracks I've been on, in no definitive order.

World
- Nurburgring Nordschleife: Miles and miles of amazement; BMW rider school.
- Portimao: The most amazing elevation changes; S1000RR intro, Metzeler M5 intro.
- Autopolis: Kawi's test track which has a rare combo of being technically challenging yet flowing, ZX-6R intro.
- Ascari: A private Spanish circuit with a variety of elevation swoops; Ducati Streetfighter launch.
- Assen: The most entertaining flat track I've ridden. Who knew a flat-as-a-pancake track could be so fun?! Its historic past added to its allure.

Special award to the Isle of Man: I didn't race on it, but I got to ride it during the TT2000 edition when Joey Dunlop won for the last time before he died. Outside of towns, there are no speed limits. An insane place to race, which makes it all the more special.

America
- Barber: Like a four-fifths Portimao. Very fun, and the museum is not to be missed! ZX-6R launch.
- Laguna: No surprise here. Been there several times, most recently at the CBR1000RR and R6 launches.
- Road America: Fast and fun, with enough hills thrown in to spice it up. Raced a Buell there last year in AMA MotoGT competition.
- Infineon: First rode on it when it was called Sears Point, and I've been on it a handful of other times. The first third of it is as good as any circuit in the world.
- Thunderhill: A few years ago I said this place only needed a re-pave to make this list, but I haven't been on it since it was repaved! Must remedy this.

Special award to Daytona: It doesn't make the top-5 list, but it sure is an awesome and special place. Anyone's first trip up on the banking is an indelible experience.

Also, two notable domestic venues missing from my resume are Road Atlanta and Mid-Ohio. Those could shuffle my above deck.

Similarly, I haven't yet ridden Phillip Island or Mugello, and I expect those to bump into my top-5 world list.

Hope you guys enjoyed this!
Deffinitely enjoyed your list, man thats impressive Kevin youve been to alot of world class venues. In my opinion thee best roadcoarses are found in and around Europe. Portamio would be my first choice I would love the elevation changes. Second choice would have to be Austrailia.

Since Iv only raced on American sole, what is your opinion on the difficulty between learning the European style of track layout compaired to what we have here in the states.

Iv read so much on this topic when riders go to Europe to race. Is it that difficult to learn, Ben Spies never showed any signs of this handicap. What do you think?
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Old 05-24-2010, 09:54 AM   #22
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I wish MY last name was "Penisi".

Seriously.
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Old 05-24-2010, 11:15 AM   #23
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I wish MY last name was "Penisi".

Seriously.
Isn't your first name Harry?........
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Old 05-24-2010, 11:23 AM   #24
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That didnt take to long.
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Old 05-24-2010, 11:44 AM   #25
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BTW Mr. Duke, did you notice anything unusual as you would transition from the harder center compound to the softer side compounds?
Good question, and one I should've touched on in the article. But, no, the transitions felt seamless on each bike I rode. A dual-compound front tire would likely reveal a more pronounced transition, which is likely why the DRC uses a dual-compound only on the rear.
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Old 05-24-2010, 11:54 AM   #26
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Since Iv only raced on American sole, what is your opinion on the difficulty between learning the European style of track layout compaired to what we have here in the states.

Iv read so much on this topic when riders go to Europe to race. Is it that difficult to learn, Ben Spies never showed any signs of this handicap. What do you think?
I wouldn't make a sweeping generalization like that. The personalities of race circuits depend mostly on their designers, so commonalities are few. The international circuits we're familiar with from WSB and MotoGP have tough safety standards and high-end facilities, so those stand apart.

One of the critical factors in quickly learning a track is the margin for error. If the track is safe and run-off areas are plentiful, it's easier to push hard quickly.

But still, learning how to get every tenth out of a new track is very difficult, so Ben's performance is nothing short of incredible.
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Old 05-24-2010, 01:39 PM   #27
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Isn't your first name Harry?........
That's "Harold".

I'm only "Harry" to my Friends..........
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Old 05-24-2010, 07:41 PM   #28
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I wouldn't make a sweeping generalization like that. The personalities of race circuits depend mostly on their designers, so commonalities are few. The international circuits we're familiar with from WSB and MotoGP have tough safety standards and high-end facilities, so those stand apart.

One of the critical factors in quickly learning a track is the margin for error. If the track is safe and run-off areas are plentiful, it's easier to push hard quickly.

But still, learning how to get every tenth out of a new track is very difficult, so Ben's performance is nothing short of incredible.
I would'nt say its a genralization, with the exception of some new tracks that have been built recently in the last 10 yrs or so here in America. Even Laguna is known amoungst International riders as more of a point and shoot track. Where as Europes tracks incumbus longer style turns, wider track surfaces, turns where your kranked over and on the absolute edge of the tire longer. And yes alot more run off room.

Set aside all those illustrious tracks youve ridden for a second and recall the first world class venue you rode at. That's I guess what Iam asking, was it a noticeable difference in that you were leaned over longer, and had so much room than anything youd been used to up until that time? Do they require a bit of reflection once ridden?
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Old 05-24-2010, 10:40 PM   #29
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That's "Harold".

I'm only "Harry" to my Friends..........

I thought your friends called you Shorty........
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Old 05-25-2010, 12:57 AM   #30
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I would'nt say its a genralization, with the exception of some new tracks that have been built recently in the last 10 yrs or so here in America. Even Laguna is known amoungst International riders as more of a point and shoot track. Where as Europes tracks incumbus longer style turns, wider track surfaces, turns where your kranked over and on the absolute edge of the tire longer. And yes alot more run off room.

Set aside all those illustrious tracks youve ridden for a second and recall the first world class venue you rode at. That's I guess what Iam asking, was it a noticeable difference in that you were leaned over longer, and had so much room than anything youd been used to up until that time? Do they require a bit of reflection once ridden?
Perhaps the impression is that most Euro/Int'l tracks are big and fast and safe. While that's pretty much the case for GP/WSB/F1 racetracks, there are plenty of smaller and less sweeping tracks. We are only really familiar with the big ones.

But, yeah, getting on a world-level track is a treat, not only for entertainment value but also safety.

And yet a few things remains constant: A crash can occur even in the slowest corners; there is always a few tenths to be found; and a pro racer will always demoralize a fast trackday rider!
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