Coach Akkaya ‘plays’ on his Ducati 1199R at Thunderhill West Raceway.
If you follow my monthly topics, then you might have noticed the red line to the struggle of riders on mental focus – so let’s stay on this topic and clear something up at the same time. This goes mainly out to the track riders and racers.
It seems that there is a wrong picture of what a teacher has to look like and be capable of. Sometimes I hear things like “Coach is to old”, or “He raced in the 80’s, that was different back then.” The conclusion seems to be that because I’m older, I can’t teach them anything. This is wrong and misguided, so let me throw a light into the dark tunnel for you.
Of course I am not as fast as I once was, but I actually still have the fire of a thousand suns in me when I’m on track, and I can rip lap times at Laguna Seca Raceway that would make active racers quite nervous, even when the years on me have replaced my 6-pack with a beer belly. Even when I am a little hip-lame… I still know what it takes to achieve Pole Positions, International Pro Racing victories, and even lap records. And here’s the deal… besides technology and tires – we’re still fighting the same old element… gravity.
Still not convinced? Remember Karate Kid’s Mr Miyagi? How about Yoda? Or Panda’s Master Shifu? They are all old, and they mentor their students to become hero’s anyway. Yea… I know. That’s all Hollywood?! So what about reality- like Coach Bill Belichick and his New England Patriots for example? He’s old and he keeps creating winning teams. Just recently I saw a documentary about Peyton Manning’s Super Bowl ending carrier. Here’s a multi-million dollar NFL player who got hip-lame himself and loaded with mental blocks. This man had a coach on his side- a 72 year old Sensei!
Does that mean that his sensei was expected to throw the damn ball further than record holder Manning? Was it necessary for his sensei to be quicker out of the pocket? Should his sensei have been mentally and physically strong enough to get past a 280-pound linebacker and throw a touchdown anyway? NO, but his sensei helped him on a way different level, and all what that 100 Million dollar MVP and multiple record holder was replying to his sensei was- ‘Yes Sir’ and ‘Yes Coach’!
Still not seeing the comparison? How about a basketball coach who is 2 ft smaller than his player- or a hockey coach who can no longer skate fast and handle a puck like a 20-year old. They may not be able to play the game, but they know what it takes to be a success in the game. They know what to say- when to say- and how to say!
So here is the logic, which I believe got lost with all those track day instructors who believe that a 10 minutes ‘workout’ and a succinct tip in regard ‘body positioning’ is all what it takes to be a good teacher. At a certain level of an athlete, a coach on the sideline is working just fine. I as a coach, see weak spots to delete, strengths to develop, tailor a race strategy, finding details to improve in the skill set and most important to mind set a competitive nature, because I know what to say- when to say- and how to say!
For this, I don’t have to be with the racer on the track to ’skate faster’ to proof credentials. Though, I bet I even can help a Top-Gun racer to drop lap times also with his riding skill set, because I’ve been there too. At that point to mention MotoGP. Even some of those guys have coaches too. Are they riding with them?! No, because how should that be even possible?!
You’re asking why I put this on the mental side?… well, you might shut yourself down with that type of thinking, and might miss out on something that finally could get you on the path you always wanted to walk… the path to success on the race track. If you still don’t see that the problems are between your ears, then you keep fighting wind mills. But if you are ready- come see me and I might help you to become a mighty Jedi.
Headcoach Can Akkaya, Sacramento 04/25/2018
After doing an ECU flash (upgrade 9), I was still very unhappy withe the “city” riding abilities a Panigale comes up with. Disappointing, but that’s maybe the difference a customized map via dyno runs can make. But since even this isn’t a 100% solution, I was looking for alternatives- and I found a logic one. It turns out to be cheap and simple as well.
OK, I use to have almost no free-play in all my bikes, so that there is no fiddling around the point where/when the throttle valve opens up. That makes it more predictable at the brake to throttle transition around the apex, and for city riding, where you constantly operate the damn thing on that edge.
Before you refer to any manufacturers manual… let me tell you that I don’t give a shit about their purpose of such a big free-play in the throttle/cable- because it makes lots of things better and your right hand and nerve costume will thank you for it as well.
Now, a row 4 cylinder is almost a Lamp against the Panigale, which loves to open her heart at any occasion. There is much more torque to play with at that low throttle position, and that free play makes you sweatin’ like a dog, so let’s get this solved.
The Panigale, and many other modern bikes, are ‘fly-by-wire’. Means- the throttle is all electronically, and no more via cable operated. These $30 bux spacers (pics) eliminate the free play on the “Joystick” almost at a 100%, and they are super easy to install. I took it out on the street today and the difference is just amazing… almost from Mr. Hyde back to Jekyll :-)
So… if you have cable… turn that free play out by let’s say 80%. If you are flying by wire… research for spacers. If you have Mr. Hyde dressed in Ferrari red sitting in the garage… then this is what you need to do!
Headcoach Can Akkaya
The one sided swing arm of the Panigale hosts the rear brake rotor and the sprocket carrier (which gets its own post later). I’ve replaced the rotor with a way lighter one and the brake pads to Bikemaster sinter metal pads. This stuff is affordable and never lets you down. At that point I’ve checked on the wheel alignment to see if the swing arm is bend. That went well so I can move on to center the two sprockets for a flawless chain run (next update)
Headcoach Can Akkaya
Ducati Update 3
Some stuff around the swing arm and rear sets has been done. A carbon cover for the looks (the tire huger goes soon), and the toe protector makes truly sense. Rear shock pos changed to ‘flat’, and preload adjusted (gotta get familiar with the electronic setting system though). The rear sets journey was interesting. The challenge… to keep the expensive, but hell of smooth Ducati ‘PULL’ quickshifter- BUT use it in a MotoGP shift pattern system. Funny is, that Ducati offers a 4 page long description to just turn this around on the stock rear sets- but doesn’t even mention that a ‘PUSH’ quickshifter would be necessary. Thats about 300 bux extra, and I go… no. So I went to see if there are rear sets which allowing all kinds of constellations in the leverage to keep the pull shifter. I found a nite set in China for 120 bux incl shipping and they work smooth as hell. The pegs are quite short though, so i had to find washers which allow me to adjust their length a bit. What I extremely like with these rear sets is that they are fully adjustable since the stock sets are way to far in the back and making tired real quick. Those going all in the front and up… as I was use to on my prototype race bikes :-)
Headcoach Can Akkaya
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Dean Lonskey’s pictures coming for free at Superbike-Coach classes and track days. Coach Akkaya on Ducati 1199R, October 2018 (click for video)