A There is a lot of talk in the mags and on telly when watching racing about rider’s lines. My question is what makes a good line and how do you know it’s a good line? When watching the racing you see a difference between riders’ lines in the same corner and it’s a much greater difference when on a track day. Q There is no such thing as an ideal line through a turn, but a rider can have a good line. Riders can consider themselves to have had a good line if they steered the bike just once, were able to apply good throttle control through the turn, and they made the turn as straight as possible (so they will have used the minimum amount of lean necessary for the speed they were travelling at).
On the road, we need to be as close to the kerb as possible (on a right turn) or as close to the centre white line (on a left turn) without putting ourselves in danger from oncoming traffic so that we can see into the turn and determine how tight or open it is. This will then determine where we will steer the bike.
If we steer in a good place, we will have a good line. If we steer in a bad place, we will have a bad line (steering corrections, throttle errors, more lean than required for our speed). Racers will still have to decide where to steer the bike, but their decisions will be based upon whether it’s qualifying (in which case they will use all the track) or the race itself (they may have to defend their race position and steer the bike on the inside of the turn at its entrance).
Their decisions will also be based on whether they have decided to overtake the rider in front, in which case they may turn later or deeper, run a tighter or wider line, or do whatever they need in order to execute the overtake, or indeed avoid being overtaken themselves. There’s a lot of variables!
Pick a line!