My first track-day with a Yamaha R15: Learnings & overall experience

I was on my limit. I’ve never imagined myself leaning into corners like I did.

BHPian SaurAswale recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

This is my first time writing anything, and I recognize that some may find it overly detailed or potentially boring. Forgive me for any mistakes I’ve made, and I kindly ask for valuable feedback to improve for the next time.

Race Track

A place to test yourself and your machine to the limits. It’s an experience that is matched with nothing else. The ecstasy of feeling like you’re losing it yet remaining in control is incredible. It’s a place where legends are crafted and fools are punished. If anyone is serious enough to improve their skills and be a better rider or driver on-road, Track days are great for finding the limits of the man and the machine. Back in my college days, I used to be the driver for our go-kart team. Unlike karts in adventure parks, it was a 125cc 5-speed machine and surprisingly quick (and scary!!). Also, I was a little familiar with racetracks and knew what to expect (or that’s what I thought!!)

When I bought my Yamaha R15, handling and engine prowess were a top priority for me, given my love for motorsports. Otherwise, it was hard to eliminate Apache RTR. (Full ownership review is coming soon). But the track day didn’t cross my mind for once.

Call of the blue

My bike has been with me for the last 45 days, I rode her 620 km to Hyderabad. Owning a Yamaha naturally led me to follow YamahaIndia on Instagram and stay on the lookout for the events. Then, an unexpected opportunity surfaced. There was a track day scheduled on 4th and 5th November in Hyderabad. But for some reason, I was having some technical problems in registration. Despite my efforts to contact Yamaha officials, I hit a dead end. Then I gave up.

The boring weekend

There is a standard format for weekends that most bachelors living in a PG follow – Sleep -Eat- Mobile- Chai- Sleep. On that particular Saturday, after going through the first two steps successfully, I found myself scrolling through Instagram. To my surprise, Yamaha India had posted the first updates of the track day. It ‘tingled’ something inside and the next thing I knew I was on my bike set for a 40 km ride to Chicane Circuit, near Shameerpet. For no apparent reason, I slipped the small bike document bag into my backpack.

At The track

I arrived at the track around 2 pm, and to my delight, I was greeted by a sea of Yamaha R15s. Most of them were v3 and v4 models, in every colour. The receptionists gave me a visitors band and just as I was entering, there was a batch of 6 riders gearing up to hit the track. I took a stroll around the small paddock and saw everything there was to see.

The track session began, and the kid in me was excited to see these machines in action, with riders leaning into corners and the thrilling vroom of their engines. While watching, I struck up a conversation with a Yamaha official and mentioned my registration troubles. To my surprise, he offered a solution: “Do you want to register now? You can choose to have your session today or tomorrow if you wish.” He recommended doing it on the same day since all the sessions for the day were over, and I would have the entire track to myself. Entire track for myself? this was tempting. I asked for a few minutes, called my cousin (not that I needed his approval), quickly checked if my net worth had enough zeroes to make the payment, and signed up for it.

The Experience

Things moved very swiftly after, the visitor band was taken out and replaced by another one. Documents were verified (Thank God I had those with me). Then my bike was taken for inspection and I was taken to the briefing area. I was introduced to Ashish, the instructor for the day and Racer for the Yamaha factory team. He walked me through do’s and don’ts followed by a safety briefing and riding position on a sportbike. After 5 minutes of the ‘exclusive for me’ session, they directed me to gear up. Yamaha provides the piece of leather suit, racing boots (from BBG IRRC), racing gloves (again BBG), and an ECE-rated helmet (unmistakably Axor Apex) to all riders- included in the registration cost. I decided to ride with my own helmet. Then there was a very brief photo session.

I was then led to my bike, where I received clear instructions: follow the Yamaha rider piloting an Aerox scooter on the track until the red flag.

What followed for the next few minutes was the best time I ever had in my entire life. My immediate response was, “Oh my god, this is so much different than go-kart”. Hitting the apex was suddenly so hard on two wheels. I was so vulnerable. It was like playing with fire. I was on my limit. I’ve never imagined myself leaning into corners like I did.

The first couple of laps I was just trying to understand what was happening. After that, I got the hang of it and was catching the Aerox. Except for one high-speed 90-degree curve with few bumps. I was clearly losing time there. Then I did something stupid, got over my skills, and kept the throttle pinned for a fraction longer- got thrown out on a bump and ran wide on grass but thankfully the Yamaha didn’t unsettle and saved me. It was heart in a mouth moment. There was another incident when I made the mistake of touching the rear brakes and instantly got punished. Also, once I turned in a little early and ended up on the grass at the apex – it’s fine to cut the corner on four wheels, but on the bike – not so a pleasant experience.

Despite these setbacks, I was having the time of my life. Over the next few laps, I experimented more. I tried shifting my body weight off the seat while cornering instead of being steady on the seat, tried to complete a lap without changing gears, tried to delay my braking point after the straight, and Focused on a smoother transition from left to right into the chicane. It was much harder than I thought.

After some more laps, I started to notice my concentration began to wane, thankfully at the same time they showed the red flag ending the session. I still don’t remember it was 15 mins session or 30 mins but it was enough to leave me exhilarated. As I came into the pit, I didn’t want to let go of my bike so sat on it till things cooled down. I suddenly realized that I was the only rider on track- most of the people were watching me. Also, I got a couple of feedback about my riding (and mistakes). Then officials told me to get hydrated and change the gears.

Finally, I got changed and after an energy drink, I received the framed photograph and goodies from Yamaha.

There was a t-shirt with some small goodies along with the bag (which I was planning to buy for small rides). Also, they let me keep the inners.

Little About the Bike

I won’t go into extensive praise for my bike in this post, as I’m in the process of preparing a full ownership review. I don’t consider myself someone with enough experience or credibility to provide a detailed evaluation of my bike. However, the Yamaha R15 doesn’t need much of an introduction in this department. So, I’ll leave you with the words of Shumi, “Yamaha (R15) is a benevolent God. It’s predictable, accurate, trustworthy, and forgiving. You can make mistakes and carry on.”

The last statement holds especially true.

That wraps up my first experience on the track with two wheels. And, did I mention it only cost me 1500 rupees?


  • Be open to opportunities; you never know what fate has in store for you.
  • Riding bikes on a track is a lot more dangerous than go-karts.
  • I need to learn everything about riding on a track to improve my skills.
  • Shifting my body weight into the corner is a crucial technique that significantly enhances lean angles and allows for higher speeds through corners. Avoid staying in a single position.
  • Never, under any circumstances, touch the rear brakes on the track.
  • Avoid cutting corners and the apex or run wide on a motorcycle.
  • Don’t attempt anything beyond your current skill level.
  • The Aerox is an impressively quick scooter.
  • Let me say this once, R15 is a LEGEND

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