Master Bike 2003

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Master Bike 2003

Master Bike 2003
Fox hunting

Upside down world: When the best production motorcycles meet at the annual hunt after the fastest lap, the fox can turn into a hunter.

Stefan Kaschel


The matter between fast and really fast drivers is decided in the limit area ?? that narrow edge between top lap time and take-off. “Living on the edge” is what the English call it, and an illustrious group of these edge knights come to Spain year after year, this time back to Jerez, to do the “Master Bike”, which is advertised by the Iberian Motor Press subsidiary “Motociclismo” fastest ?? MV Agusta, Benelli and Triumph abstained from choosing a production motorcycle. And the fastest driver by the way. Of course only in secret, because the head of organization »Don Pepe«, top tester of »Motocilismo«, constantly reminds us that this is not a race and certainly not a qualifying. But of course he is not serious.
The proud Spaniard doesn’t like to lose. And so have the successes of the Spanish border area delegate in recent years ?? he regularly cleared the trophy for the fastest lap on – still registered with a satisfied grin on the part of the organizing committee. »Muy bien«.
Jurgen Fuchs therefore knows what it’s about. “Can you try to stop the others’ times so I know where the hammer is?” Asks the ex-GP driver and MOTORRAD tester on site, right after the first laps, in which nothing but warming up is the order of the day is getting used to different motorcycles and the course.
Anyone who sees the 37-year-old father of three children racing along with 15 other drivers from 14 nations doesn’t worry about his competitiveness: The Jerez fox ?? after all, he drove numerous Grand Prix here ?? does not need to hide here. Despite the strong competition. Christer Lindholm, three-time German Superbike champion and former World Supersport rider, competes for the Scandinavian »bike«. Oriol Fernandez, four-time Spanish supersport champion, is at the start for the hosts. Barry Veneman, the Dutch representative, was in the 500cc GP circus. The choice of favorites is difficult.
It’s easier with motorcycles. “There can only be one,” grins Markus Lehner, for the Swiss motorbike drivers on the hunt for time. »The GSX-R 1000.« Has he already forgotten the victory of the little sister GSX-R 750 last year? “No, but you also need a lot of smoke on this fast course,” the confederate is certain. All others also rely on the 1000s. Do you have to continue the story at all??
Yes! The first laps the next day show that it is worth comparing. The Supersport class is coming up, the experts argue whether the Honda CBR 600 RR or the aggressive, with a displacement advantage Kawasaki ZX-6R make the race.

Ducati 749 S.

the Ducati 749 S, on which Jurgen sets out for the first time hunt, nobody has on the bill. Roll in three laps with fresh tires, then off you go. “You only have to stop the last of the six laps, that is the fastest.” The statement of a veteran who is sure of his cause. Rightly. With the precision of a laser beam, the racing fox uses every centimeter of the route, comes out lap after lap of the easily navigable curb lap after lap in the terribly fast two-way links (see page 29), the game repeats the start-finish line, takes an enormous amount of momentum with on the straight. Becomes faster and faster, even if it is not visible from the outside where there is still room for more during this tightrope walk. The result: 1.57.274 minutes. Best time, just under a second ahead of Barry Veneman and just under two in front of Christer Lindholm on the same motorcycle.
How it works, explains Jurgen afterwards: »On the 749 you get the time almost exclusively with cornering speed. The possible entry speeds are very high, the stability in the many fast corners is a show, the brakes are ingenious. The fact that there is not more is due to the narrow usable speed range in combination with the long secondary transmission. The gears actually never fit, and you have to take a lot of time to change gears, otherwise it won’t lock properly. In addition, there is a lack of grip, especially at the rear. “
The other pilots also commented that there was not enough grip. Almost no matter which motorcycle class and which make (see box on page 21). The result: Compared to the Master Bike two years ago, ridden on the Pirelli Supercorsa, the times on the Bridgestone BT 012 SS are on average between two and three seconds behind. Not nice for the drivers’ honor, but uninteresting for the classification. Jurgen has no time for longer analyzes, the next candidate is waiting.

Honda CBR 600 RR

What can the new high-tech Honda, the first CBR 600, uncompromisingly designed for sport do? Expectations are high, but Jurgen’s conclusion after the hunt for the times is rather sober. »The extremely compact seating position is annoying. As a result, I cannot work on the motorcycle. When I brake, I have too much weight on my wrists and too little weight on the rear wheel, the stability is flat. In addition, I don’t put the necessary pressure on the footrests in the fast corners. On the other hand, the engine (in Spain in the G-Kat-less version, author’s note) has a lot of pressure around the top, but is rather weak in the middle speed range. The handling, however, is noticeably good. With the CBR, you can actually choose any line, a more angular course would certainly suit you. In the fast corners of Jerez, however, it seems a little unstable. In return, the transmission is great, the brakes are also effective, while the controllability does not come close to the Ducati system. “
Sufficient for 1.56.594 minutes, a decent lead over the Ducati. The Spanish hotspot Oriol Fernandez even presented 1.56.451, achieved his fastest lap on the CBR. But is that enough? The elderly GSX-R 600, Jurgen’s next test subject, should not be a real touchstone. The fox thinks.

Suzuki GSX-R 600

And comes back into the box with an astonished look. “Overall very balanced,” he is amazed. And achieved 1.56.169 minutes, which, as it turned out in the end, was the second-best overall time in the 600 class. The reasons: Jurgen has enough space with his long legs on the Suzuki, and he appreciates the excellent feedback, especially at the rear. »I can make good use of the power and slide wonderfully with the Suzi. The feeling is also very transparent in the maximum inclined position, the gears run smoothly and precisely. «He only deducts points for the brake, which requires a lot of manual force and is difficult to adjust, and for the rear wheel stamping on the brake and the rear breaking out.

Yamaha YZF-R6

The fact that little Yamaha, who won the subscription in its class at this event, is not really on the list this year is due to the increased competition. But the Suzuki already showed that supposed underdogs are good for surprises. Sometimes even for the big one. “That doesn’t exist,” Jurgen blurts out. »The thing drives like a 250cc, combines brilliant handling with enormous cornering stability in the fast corners. And she’s the only one who doesn’t have a grip problem here. Hats off, Jeffry! “
He is referring to Jeffry de Vries, Yamaha head tester and ex-Superbike World Championship rider. He had taken a long retreat before the event to work out the optimal coordination. With an overwhelming result: »I wasn’t able to exploit the full potential because I realized too late that where there were previously braking points, a brief throttle is now enough. In addition, I should have switched earlier. The engine can be over-revved wonderfully, but it has no more steam from the top. But otherwise: everything is perfect. No, wait, the R6 is the first one that tends to hit the handlebars at the beginning of the back straight. But you can live with that. “
Yamaha with the time of the R6 too. 1.56,034 burned Jurgen in the asphalt, only the Spaniard Oriol drives even faster later. 1.55.726 minutes. It’s going to be tough work for the Kawasaki.

Kawasaki ZX-6R

However, the paper should not make the task unsolvable. After all, the Kawa competes with a displacement increase of 36 cm3. To anticipate: it won’t make it, but it will be tight. 1:56,212 minutes are noted for Jurgen. This makes it the fastest on the ZX-6R. The fact that the R6 can still not be beaten is due to the small things that play a major role in the ride on knife scabbard. The seat slopes forward too steeply, which is why Jurgen slides forward when braking and has too much weight on his wrists. “And anyway, the brake. It is so aggressive that a light tap while double-declutching is enough to create unrest. In addition, it is the only one showing signs of fading. And the gear ratio doesn’t seem to fit on this course, I’m constantly shifting gears. Handling and performance, on the other hand, are okay, as is the seated position in an inclined position. “
Just like the day’s victory of the R6. How close the machines in this class are to each other can be seen in the comparison of the times achieved by Jurgen Fuchs (see page 28). Only 0.6 seconds lie between the Japanese representatives, only the Ducati falls off a bit. A look at the times of all drivers also shows that eleven men were fastest on the R6, four on the Kawasaki. Despite the tight time differences, that is a clear vote. Whether this is also so clear in the Superbike class?

Aprilia RSV mille

“With this thing you don’t notice how fast you really are,” Jurgen remembers the previous time before he mounts. “Which is not so much due to the brute performance, but to the successful ergonomics and the finely balanced chassis.” In 2003, the Mille sailed unspectacularly, but very neutrally, around the course, attracting no attention with either special bitches or outstanding properties, just drives fast. Compared to the 600s, which she makes up for around a second, and compared to her classmates. the Aprilia drives under Jurgen with 1.55.178 best time. Just like that, so easy. “The sitting position is brilliant,” he reports to Rapport, “that’s really relaxed driving. In addition, these tires have astonishingly good grip on the Mille, and the chassis is a good compromise between easy handling and decent cornering stability. The rest: not outstanding, but all in all a really good package. “

Suzuki GSX-R 750

That was the GSX-R 750 in the past, too. Here in Jerez and last year also in Almeria, where it surprisingly prevailed against the displacement cars. “That would be an insider tip again,” Jurgen is sure. Would ?? because the first test drives the day before revealed an unexpected weakness. “The hindquarters begin to slide very early and then quickly turn into a pumping movement. That’s a bit of a tragedy, considering that the 600 was so great in terms of balance, stability and grip. ”The whole thing is particularly tragic because the Suzuki technicians refuse to change the position of the spring base on the strut. So the 750 collapses in the fast double right under load changes and is not stable in the corner entrance. “It’s a shame, the Suzuki crew screwed up that,” Jurgen regrets. »The engine is ingenious in terms of power delivery and speed, the seating position is very good. I can get in hanging off the corners with no problem. That’s the only reason why she still has a good time. “
Oh yes, the time. 1.56,026. Once again the best time. The fast Spaniard Oriol, whose driving style (in, flip, accelerate out) is in stark contrast to Jurgen’s round style and who relies on maximum grip in the acceleration phase, lands 0.8 seconds behind.

Ducati 999

So, finally the reds from Bologna are allowed into the ring. Praised for its skills and sometimes criticized for its appearance, the 999 wants to play a role in the Master Bike similar to that of its racing sister in the Superbike World Championship. She wants to dominate, and she has the potential to do so. A great engine, for example, with exemplary responsiveness and a lot of pressure. Very good brakes. And a chassis with plenty of reserves. But it also has a cardinal problem: “The balance between the grip on the front and rear wheels doesn’t fit, it should last much longer at the rear,” complains Jurgen to the Ducati crew. They don’t know what to do next, after all, the day before, Jurgen and Jurgen had already experimented with different settings, tire pressures and even the 190 version on the rear wheel. All to no avail. Jurgen drives the fastest lap of all drivers with 1:56.159 minutes on the 999, but that would probably be more.

Honda VTR 1000 SP-2

Just like with the Honda Superbike offshoot, after all, World Champion motorcycle under Colin Edwards last year. “But certainly not with this fork set-up,” says Jurgen with a flicker. “That’s the biggest problem for you in the braking zones. The fork goes on the block, the front wheel stamps, I don’t hit a turn-in point. The VTR is super handy, but overall very wobbly, which makes precise steering even more difficult. It’s a shame, because all the prerequisites for a quick time have been created. The engine is powerful, has a very wide usable speed range and runs smoothly into the limiter, the chassis is extremely stiff, the brakes are good. So you can drive amazingly fast even with a bad feeling for the front wheel. ”That’s right. With 1.56.660 minutes, Jurgen made the Superbike class his territory. Nobody drives any motorcycle faster than him.

Ducati 999 S.

The next day everyone is ?? Driver like observer ?? tense as the Flitzebogen. The royal discipline is pending. Superstock ?? now times should tumble. Even if the lack of grip is most pronounced with the strong thousands. Jurgen goes out first with the 999 S ?? and struggles with the same problem as the day before on the standard 999. “I could go a lot faster. But even when braking into the corners, the rear wheel breaks. At the apex, when you apply the gas, it slips again. The Ducati is actually unbeatable when it comes to entry and cornering speeds. ”He attributes the fact that it is still faster than with its civilian sister to the increased performance and, above all, to the ergonomic conditions. “Because the tank-seat combination, in contrast to the Biposto, can be moved backwards, I can lean in much better and make up time braking, while it is simply difficult to implement the extra power under these conditions.”
Be it as it may. The bottom line is 1.55.471 minutes and ?? what else ?? Best time of the day with the 999 S..

Kawasaki ZX-9R

Nobody expects that this time will be cracked by the Kawasaki of all places. The green athlete looks powerful, bulbous, getting on in years. “Let’s go,” says Jurgen laconically and accelerates out of the pit lane. And comes back completely changed. »It is really a positive surprise how agile and how precise this heavy motorcycle is when accelerating. On the other hand, it is extremely unstable in the braking zones. You have the feeling that the motorcycle is bending completely. It is astonishing that very precise turning is still possible. There are more problems when accelerating because the engine accelerates hard and slows down. A lot of momentum comes out of the corners. Even more, by the way, when the footrest hits so hard that it leverages the whole moped away. But overall ?? except for the huge tank that prevents me from doing gymnastics? it’s fun with the Brummer. “
That’s right, Jurgen, always having fun with it. Then it doesn’t matter that this stubborn Spaniard snatched the fastest time from you with 1.55.499. The revenge is sure to come. Maybe already on the R1.

Yamaha YZF-R1

“Yamaha needs to write a thank you letter to the chassis man. They got a lot of grip out of the rear tire! «The first statement gives hope for great deeds, the further descriptions Yamaha on the class and overall victory. Jurgen is blown away. “I’ve never driven an R1 like this. The handling is a dream for a 1000, the feeling for the limit area on the rear wheel is very transparent. In combination with the silky smooth throttle response, it can slide wonderfully. The translation fits this perfectly, and the seating position is also wonderful with pronounced hanging off. But there are also minor blemishes. I would have expected a bit more from the brakes, the gearbox is a bit clunky. A bigger problem: the massive kickback at the beginning of the back straight. ”
Nevertheless: Jurgen is excited about the time. And really: for the first time the 55 barrier is broken, with 1:54,944 minutes the R1 marks the new best time. And Oriol has to line up behind with half a second.

Suzuki GSX-R 1000

Does the pole position of the R1 last? If she is beaten, it will be now. Everyone agrees on that. But Jurgen does not play along. He later confesses: »It is so much fun to really turn the whisk on this device that I just let off steam for the first three or four laps. Despite the brute performance? this engine is just amazing ?? always comes with the feeling of being able to squeeze this thing out properly. There are no underhands, the performance is perfectly controllable with the throttle grip. The few laps here are just not enough. Also because the excess speed in front of the corners is so high that I had to redefine my braking points. Unfortunately, I tended to brake too early, also because the brakes were very progressive. It’s not bad, but it takes some getting used to. Otherwise, the front section behaves in an exemplary manner. Great handling, a lot of confidence in the limit area, plus quick turning and a tight line selection. In the last two laps I turned my brain on and focused on the lap times. Sorry! «
Never mind Jurgen. It’s nice when you are so enthusiastic. And so fast: 1.54.105 minutes, drove out with a lot of fun. Somebody has to imitate that first. In any case, the Spaniard doesn’t do it. He’s doing better. 1,53,489 ?? that’s it, the top time of this year’s Master Bike. And the faces of the hosts brighten. The thing is eaten.

Honda Fireblade

Indeed, at least in the Superstock class. Because even if Jurgen burns another best time in the asphalt with 1,54,800 minutes? he cannot endanger the GSX-R. But he can with it? to his own amazement ?? oust the R1 from second place. “Can do anything a little bit and nothing,” is his first, joking comment. Then to get serious again. “The fork dips too quickly to be able to turn in with reserves. So I have to release the excellent brakes earlier than normal, because with the suspension on block I can’t turn in. The formidable handling tears the shortcoming out again. I can drive extremely tight lines and the cornering stability is good. And on the hindquarters, the feeling for the border area is communicated very transparently. “
Well, that’s it, actually. All motorcycles through, the GSX-R 1000 as the winner. Everyone is satisfied, except Jurgen. The sting is too deep. “The Edwards replica, that’s my thing. I almost cracked the Suzuki with the Mille R two years ago. «Aprilia RSV 1000 R and Mondial Piega: Both run as a “specialist class”.

Aprilia RSV mille R Edwards replica

He immediately proves how much he likes the powerful replica with the fine Ohlins chassis. The clocks stop at 1.53.842 minutes. That is just four tenths of the fastest time of the high-flyer GSX-R 1000, Jurgen himself is faster with the Mille. Why? “Because actually everything fits here. Sit on it, feel good, drive fast. Enough space to make things small? that alone takes a second. In addition, a chassis with great feedback, with which you can ride all the lines in the world, good grip on the rear wheel, a lot of stability, a transparent limit area and a great brake. That’s just fine with me. ”

Mondial Piega

On the noble bike with VTR engine, things look exactly the other way around. “Who the hell broke this tank?” Asks a stunned fox. “I can’t accelerate when I lean because I can’t get the handlebars. Even if almost everything else works fine? I can’t drive with that! «The time documents his discomfort: 1.57.307 minutes. He wasn’t slower with anyone. However, this only marginally diminishes the balance sheet. Eleven of 16 best times, with the exception of the Mondial, no slip, on average by far the fastest driver. This master bike was a fox hunt. Which also has a worthy winner with the new GSX-R 1000. Halali

Lap times

1. Suzuki GSX-R 1000 1.53.4892. Aprilia Mille R Edwards-Replica 1.53.8423. Honda Fireblade 1.54.8004. Yamaha YZF-R1 1.54.9445. Aprilia RSV mille 1.55.1786. Ducati 999 S 1.55.4717. Kawasaki ZX-9R 1.55.4998. Yamaha YZF-R6 1.55.7269. Suzuki GSX-R 750 1.56.02610. Ducati 999 1.56.15911. Suzuki GSX-R 600 1.56.16912. Kawasaki ZX-6R 1.56.21213. Honda CBR 600 RR1.56.45114. Mondial Piega 1.56.52015.Honda VTR 1000 SP-2 1.56.66016. Ducati 749 S 1.57.274

Overall winner lap times

Congratulations to Suzuki, because rarely has there been a more worthy winner. Not only because it set the fastest time and was the fastest by almost all drivers. But also because it is the best example of the perfection with which everyday suitability and racetrack performance can be combined.

Test for the test

After race track tests, we at MOTORRAD have often discussed how meaningful the lap times of the drivers of different speeds actually are. Which factors influence them? And what does it all bring for the reader? It seems to me that the Master Bike is a good reason to analyze. What about personal preferences for seat and peg position, certain engine characteristics or special chassis characteristics? Can one adjust better and the other worse to a certain motorcycle? Will what at first appear impassable in the introductory laps remain impassable forever? I say no. Because every time the two difficult introductory laps were over and the start-finish of the first timed lap, all thoughts about liking or not liking certain peculiarities of the individual motorcycles were blown away. The mood is like a final training session? everyone only has the Poles in their head! This adrenaline rush produced amazing results: it’s all about getting the best out of yourself and the material. When driving for a limited period of time, every single motorcycle can demonstrate its actual capabilities such as acceleration, braking stability and grip levels. This statement is also underlined by the overall result. Although the slowest test rider lost more than ten seconds per lap, an average of 12 of the 16 riders with the absolutely fastest motorcycle in this class were also the fastest. Completely independent of your own ability. In my opinion, this should also be representative for the readers. It was much tighter among the test motorcycles. The time difference within the four categories was an average of 1.5 seconds. Not much compared to the time differences between the drivers. From which I conclude: 1. Lap times say a lot about the quality of the motorcycles, regardless of how fast the riders are. 2. More than 90 percent of the reason for a significantly poorer lap time on modern sports motorcycles is to be found with the driver. Only when the times have leveled off at a very small difference does the material make the difference.

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