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Wet and Slippery Roads

Mastering wet weather is an art.

It’s no coincidence that the MotoGP riders who win wet races are not always the same as those who win in the dry. Smooth riding is the key for control in the wet. Like riding at night, riding smoothly in the wet can be very rewarding. And like everything else there are always other factors to take into account – how wet is it? Very wet and large puddles can pose a serious problem in aquaplaning (where the depth of the water can stop the tyre from touching the road). Drizzle can make the road “greasy” and is often more slippery than a rainy day. Water mixing with other road debris like leaves can be a serious hazard, but other times these can be washed away. Modern tyres are extremely good in wet conditions, and even mid-range motorcycles now often come with ABS and traction control. Both of these are rider aids in so far as they offer a sort of safety net. But they are not a substitute for smooth and measured riding, and in particular as aids they can do little to help if you brake while steering. To be smooth brake in a straight line and use the throttle gently and incrementally. The front tyre is the most vulnerable to a motorcycle’s stability; locking or losing the back end are bad but more easily recovered than sliding or locking the front. To this end shift the weight away from the front of motorcycle by trying to gently accelerate into the corners rather than either braking or running in on a closed throttle. This will give the smoothest response, stability and predictable handling.