Attack Suzuki GSX-R1000
Attack of the Killer Formula Xtreme Champion
"Right, we had Jason back again," says Stanboli,"uninjured, and we took a whole different approach to the season. We said let's not try to win 'em all like in 2001; let's just go out there and just place, and win when we can without taking any real chances. Jason rode around, I wouldn't say he was riding 110 percent all year. He did what he had to do to win the championship. We had a couple glitches just like the other teams, but I think we made less mistakes than the other teams -- as seen in the last race -- and so wound up winning the championship. And that's what it takes; you gotta be there and win some too."
The swingarm is what Stanboli calls "fabbed," from kit pieces lying round the shop. In fact they look suspiciously like Yamaha parts. Mix and match. Stanboli redid all sorts of pieces and linkage and Bob's your uncle. Then he changed the bike's steering offset and trail with billet triple clamps built by Attack.
And I don't think Stanboli would've spent $22K for the Motec engine management/data-logger system unless he thought it was worth it. What I gathered from the conversation between Hackfu and Richard is that a creative tuner with a Motec system can do a lot of things. One instance Stanboli mentioned is, "What if you don't want the bike to wheelie? All you do is plug the front wheel travel sensor into the computer, and program it so that when the fork enters an area of negative travel, let's retard ignition timing 10 degrees... easy to do." "You can do dynamic trail measurement. You can say, my front travel's, this my rear travel's that, offset's this and my ride height's that--then you can compare all those on the fly, and boom, you know if there's too much squat leaving the corner, or maybe I'm loosing too much trail entering the corner or maybe it's extending the back and shoving the front at the exit..."
Again, this type of thing isn't legal in Superbike or Supersport.
Add all that brainpower up, both human and artificial, and you arrive at a bike that's surprisingly easy to ride -- just like all the cool racebikes I've had the chance to ride over the years. Guys like Pridmore are able to fly on them because the bike needs so little attention you get to pay full attention to the race track; all the bike does is respond to commands. Okay, well -- respond to commands and produce 200 horsepower.
There's Ohlins suspension at either end, including a GP fork in front. "That was stupid," Stanboli says, "we wound up having to completely redo everything in it." Springs are pretty stiff, because Jason's corner speed is high (to go with his high speed everywhere else). The bike works fine at Burns-speed, too -- firm but kind. And even with Dunlop slicks left over from the final round at VIR, it doesn't take long to become Invincible Man on this bike. No matter how good street tires get, there's still nothing like even worn slicks; even when your ear's dragging, Jason's bike just yawns.
The close-ratio trans made a big difference in the season too, allowing Jason to keep the engine above the torque peak -- making it harder to spit out the rear tire and easier to keep the front one grounded. Through Fontana's slowest right, I think I'm using second gear until I start looking at the Motec display and realize I'm in first, which must be good up 'til 80 or so, feels like.
Even in low, the bike accelerates out of that corner with the teeniest opening-the-throttle lurch, and once it's on the meat of the tire you just roll it open (okay not quite all the way open), and get smoooooth acceleration--the front wheel only becoming gently airborne as the revs get up to 8000 or so -- with none of the wheelie-over-backward-instantly smack people talk about.
Brakes are big Brembos with lots of controllable bite, and useful for lining up the little kink just before Fontana's lengthy infield straight; that's a good spot to let the Attack Suzuki eat. Holy mother of pearl. Again, everything's fine until that last little bit of throttle, where it feels like the rear tire's going to break loose even though you're already accelerating hard through 100 mph. Things that were once gradual undulations yards apart are now bumps. I picture Miss Budweiser suddenly going airborne off a lake. Guys on R1s you usually can't keep up with are suddenly obstacles. Richard was right: anytime the gas is on hard, you have to ride this bike on the balls of your feet, weight on the tank, loose grip on the bars but not too loose, and then we're talkin' flying off God's own Big Bertha, par five. Remember there's a powershifter and down is faster -- and you find yourself at top speed, which is a lot, in not much time at all. A Haybusa will go this fast, almost, but it takes it maybe a mile to get there. Stanboli's beast gets there in a couple hundred yards, feels like.
And it's nice, really, once you adjust. Cleansing even, a slightly religious feeling of omnipotence, an out-of-body experience. Hey, these last months haven't been easy on me man... fired from my job (that was tough for like two hours), weaned from the Paxil, cleft from the one I love, taking body blows from Shiite MO subscribers... sigh. Heroin is nice, we hear. Yoga is supposed to be therapeutic -- but a few laps on this thing seems to have realigned all sorts of crooked internal bits in me, like having your neck snapped by a really good chiropractor or being serviced by a really expensive Vegas... scratch that part, we're a FAMILY publication. Thanks for the memories, Richard.