Originally Posted by JCW
I was reading a thread on Keith Code's forum about trail braking and the topic of front wheel slip came up.
How many of you are confident enough to corner hard enough to slide the front wheels?
So I was wondering if this is a common thing on the track???
Not really, as far as I'm (and most non-professional racers/track riding fellows) are concerned. I recall reading about front wheel slip on the first "A twist of the wrist", and being in awe of the guy. Then I put things into perspective: the theory was great, but it did relate to 25-years old bikes and tires. My position is "you don't want to do that on a modern bike on modern, track-oriented tires".
You can get away with that - and maybe be proficient in the technique, as in going faster than cornering with the two wheels gripping - with harder, less gripping street tires. They tend to handle heat much worse, so on a racetrack, when you start to raise the pace, they start to slide a little on both ends. But given the task they're built to perform, street tires have a larger "grey area" where you can slide them with some confidence. All on a track tarmac, obviously.
Doing that on race tires is, IMHO, a little dangerous since there's a concrete risk of them re-gripping and highsiding you - street tires lose grip when they overheat, so you can slide them even when NOT on the edge of the tire, race/track tires do slide when you lean way too much or overheat a little: in both cases there's a definite chance of the bike decreasing its lean angle or the tires shedding some heat and getting back the grip they search for. Some racers do find the latest race tyres predictable enough to ride them at race pace when they're over and slide them with confidence, but it's not a technique I recommend practicing unless you're ready to sacrifice a couple of bikes (and maybe bones) in the learning process. If you race, that may be necessary, if you don't I don't think so. Last time I recall being in that situation, on the exit of Tosa in Imola, the following outlook from my visor was tarmac-sky-ground-sky-Ducati996logo-sky-ground-sky-grass-sky-paramedic asking me if I was alright. An interesting experience, but I don't recommend it to anyone.
And I wouldn't take the MotoGP physics as something that may have anything to do with the bikes we can ride, on the road or track. The differences in what Rossi's or Stoner's equipment allows - and thus their racing technique is - may be worth a post in itself. I'm not lucky enough to have been able to test a MotoGP, but I got the chance to ride some laps on Ruben Xaus's WSB Ducati F05, and I have spoken with lots of fast guys
earning a living racing on world level, and the things they do on any given lap are enough to put a guy with normal skills - and normal bikes - in rehab for some months...