Throttle Control Timing: When to Open the Throttle Mid-Corner

Most riders that have taken some time to learn about track riding technique will know that we want to be getting back to the throttle in the middle section of the corner to stabilise the bike, stop it slowing down and eventually begin our exit drive.

However, what they often won’t understand is the timing of when that should happen.

In this article we’re going to look at exactly when you should get back to the throttle in the middle of the corner, and how that’s going to make your throttle control smoother, and the lines you take more consistent and tidy.

Why We Open the Throttle

So like I said, we want to stabilise the bike mid-corner and stop ourselves slowing down as early as possible so that the suspension can do a better job of keeping our tyres in good contact with the track, and so that we can keep our speed up.

This is achieved by opening the gas and performing our mid-corner stabilising throttle.  I won’t be getting into the specifics of how we do that in this article, instead I want to simply talk about when we open the throttle.

So, when do we get back to the throttle mid-corner?

We get back to the throttle when our steering is finished and when our line is set for corner exit.

A common mistake I see among riders that are trying to perform correct throttle control is the tendency to open the throttle too early. Many will know that they need to open the throttle once steering is finished, so they’ll finish their main steering effort in the early part of the corner and begin opening the throttle shortly after.

However, many will take this approach and open the throttle before considering where they’re heading and whether the line is actually set for corner exit.

What this typically means is they’ll run wide in the middle of the corner, miss the apex, and then they’re left waiting for the bike to turn and point up the track so they can pick it up and start their exit drive.

Opening the throttle too soon before your line is set for the apex/exit means you’ll run too wide.

And this is what I alluded to in my hitting the apex video. If you’re too eager to get back to the throttle in the middle of the corner before your line is set, you’re going to miss it.

The reason why this happens is because you stop the bike slowing down when you open the throttle the necessary amount, which means you then hold the line you’re on (assuming no more steering input is added).

But if that line isn’t going to take you past the apex then, quick simply, you’re going to miss it and run wide.

There will be corners where you can get back to the throttle early, but there’ll also be many corners where you’re waiting for the bike to turn to get onto a good line for the exit.

It is in these corners that you must… Learn to Wait

This is where your vision will help you. If you’ve entered the corner and correctly found your apex with your eyes, you’ll have a much better idea of where you’re going to end up.

As you move through the corner you will be constantly judging where you’re headed, and as soon as you’re confident your line is set to hit the apex and exit the corner correctly, THEN you can get back to the throttle to stabilise the bike and stop it slowing down.

Waiting a little longer while remaining off the throttle will allow the bike to slow down and the line to correctly tighten to hit the apex and better set up the exit.

Where this point is will be different for many corners. Sometimes it can be well before the apex, other times it will be right on top of it, sometimes even past it.

Practise being conscious of where the bike’s going and let that be your indication of when to open the throttle in the middle portion of the corner, rather than simply finishing your main steering effort at corner entry and thinking “ok, now back to the throttle”.

The challenge for you is to get good at judging when that point is. With experience you’ll begin to better understand how your bike behaves and where it goes in the early part of the corner based on your inputs, and in time your throttle control timing will get better and better.