Stripped down, you can see...
Stripped down, you can see the Daytona doesn't have a trick subframe or any unobtanium components. Even the wheels are standard units. The only clues that give away its racing intentions are the trapezoidal radiator extension and carbon overlays.
First order of business was getting to know the cockpit. The controls are rather basic-the right-side handlebar has two buttons, one for ignition power and the other starts the engine, like a standard bike. The left bar has buttons to increase or decrease traction control on the fly, pit-lane speed limiter and a fourth button to toggle between two engine maps. In contrast to World Superbike rules which are fairly lenient, the World Supersport regulations are much more restrictive. The chassis has to remain largely untouched; standard fairings are replaced with race-worthy items, and, as with our 2008 race project, Triumph has released an updated version of its factory racing kit, which includes, among other things, an Arrow titanium stage 3 exhaust system, different camshafts and sprockets, manual cam-chain tensioner, bearings, different engine cover gaskets and thinner head gaskets to slightly bump compression. Fortunately, rules regarding engine modifications are much more liberal and the team was cautious to tell me what else resided in the engine bay. What's interesting is that, to meet the 356-pound minimum weight limit, the team actually places a lead block under the engine to be compliant. All told, the race team claims peak horsepower numbers to be above 140. The team is obviously secretive of the exact numbers, but is confident its power is competitive with its rivals.
The Triumph racing kit includes a programmable ECU and accompanying software, but the ParkinGO team doesn't use it. Instead Magneti Marelli supplies the team with its latest Marvel 4 ECU-the same unit used by both World Superbike and MotoGP teams. The benefit with the Marvel 4 is its versatility; it allows almost infinite control and manipulation of the fueling system, but also has channels to monitor throttle position, brake pressure, suspension travel, wheelie control and much more. Not to mention it allows for additional accessories like traction control.
While the bike I rode was DiSalvo's, these stock photos were taken from Chaz Davies' primary bike. As evidenced by the empty slot where the ignition would sit, stock triple clamps remain and in their original positions. The Marelli LCD gauge cluster shows all of the vital information that the engineers can then download and examine. The fork caps are part of the Bitubo replacement cartridges, with the rearward dial on the left cap controlling compression damping and the rearward dial on the right controlling rebound; preload is adjustable using the forward dials on each cap.
A Gentle Giant
The World Supersport-spec...
The World Supersport-spec Daytona 675 machines have major restrictions when it comes to changing chassis geometry, hence swingarm pivot is identical to the stock bike. GB Racing provides the protective engine case covers, while Rizoma provides the rearsets and Bitubo the rear shock (and front fork internals). Note the quick shifter and the carbon fiber overlays on the frame and swingarm.
Seeing as how Jason DiSalvo is the lone American on the grid, it was only fitting that I spun some laps on his bike. Right away, the most obvious difference is how eager the racebike is to change direction. It steers so much quicker than the standard model that turn-in points needed to be adjusted, meaning what would have been a late entry marker before now seemed normal. A quick and deliberate flick of the bike plants knee puck firmly to terra firma and the stable chassis inspires all kinds of confidence to lean even further. Surely changes to the bike's geometry is what allows it to change direction so quick, right? Yes, but for one little caveat: under World Supersport rules no changes to the chassis are allowed; meaning standard triple clamps have to remain and in their original position. Even the original wheels have to remain. So what's the secret? DiSalvo's shock length is increased one millimeter (his teammate's Chaz Davies and David Salom are up five millimeters) and his fork is raised in the triple clamp ten millimeters, effectively raising the rear ride height and lowering the front. This accounts for the quicker turn-in, but the bike surprisingly feels as neutral as the stocker from the saddle. When DiSalvo first rode the Daytona, it had the same forward bias as Davies and Salom's machines, but he requested the more standard riding position because, "It allows me to trailbrake longer, but not necessarily harder, into a turn".