DAY 3: ON TRACK AT BRANDS

‘We were sur­prised the lap times were so close, as the H2 felt dra­mat­i­cally faster’

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The ZZR looks to­tally out of place in pit­lane at Brands Hatch. De­spite its racy Brembo brakes and Öh­lins shock, there’s no hid­ing the fact that it’s a heavy, wide and long load. The H2 looks far less out of place, glint­ing in the sun­light.

But the ZZR didn’t dis­grace it­self, and fared far bet­ter around the 1.2-mile Indy cir­cuit than we thought it might. De­spite the ham­mer­ing, those Brembo brakes only faded slightly to­wards the end of the 20-minute ses­sion, which is im­pres­sive con­sid­er­ing the abuse they were tak­ing haul­ing up 268kg ev­ery lap. Ground clear­ance wasn’t bad and the smooth power de­liv­ery en­abled the rider to get on the power nice and pro­gres­sively, giv­ing the rear Bridge­stone an eas­ier time. Af­ter a few laps to re­cal­i­brate and get ac­cus­tomed to the ZZR’S char­ac­ter it was ac­tu­ally a lot of fun, leav­ing huge dark lines from the rear tyre at ev­ery op­por­tu­nity. The feed­back from the Öh­lins shock was ex­cel­lent, and com­bined with a long wheel­base and smooth power de­liv­ery al­lowed con­trolled pro­gres­sive slides.

But don’t be fooled, de­spite the ZZR’S racy trin­kets it strug­gled when try­ing to chase down sports­bikes in the fast group. Ideally you want to trail the brakes up to the apex at Brands but it sim­ply can’t be done with con­fi­dence on the ZZR. It also took a huge amount of ef­fort to get the bike to change di­rec­tion quickly. But it was only a sec­ond slower than the H2 around the Indy cir­cuit, and reached a dat­a­logged 136.8mph be­fore brak­ing for Pad­dock Hill, while the H2 man­aged a smidgen more at 138.6mph.

We were sur­prised the lap times were so close, as the H2 felt dra­mat­i­cally faster than the ZZR. But this is more down to the ag­gres­sive na­ture of the su­per­charged mon­ster; the H2 con­stantly wanted to wheelie, or spin its rear tyre. But the brakes felt much bet­ter on the H2 mean­ing you could hold onto them for longer, and de­spite be­ing 238kg, it’s still con­sid­er­ably lighter than the ZZR. The rel­a­tive lack of weight, shorter wheel­base and ag­gres­sive stance made it far more nim­ble too, mean­ing you could carry more cor­ner speed with con­fi­dence.

But again it wasn’t per­fect and it felt like you had to wait a life­time be­fore you could get on the power. If you got on the gas too early you’d hear the TC work­ing over­time, as it back­fired its way onto ev­ery straight. We opted to switch off the TC but then we needed to make sure we were on the fat­test part of the rear Bridge­stone be­fore un­leash­ing full power. Brands Hatch proved to be great fun on the H2, but it was a bat­tle to keep the bike up­right and we could eas­ily see it end­ing in tears. Af­ter just 20 laps the right hand side of H2’s rear tyre was al­most done and we had to rein­tro­duce the TC to sim­ply save the last of the rub­ber.

With 119ftlb torque at 7500rpm, the ZZR wheel­ies with ease Around Brands, the H2 was as evil to ride as its styling would sug­gest Shy, quiet, re­tir­ing Chad joins the back of the pit­lane queue

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