DAY 3: ON TRACK AT BRANDS
‘We were surprised the lap times were so close, as the H2 felt dramatically faster’
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.