It seems like there's a time and place for practicing everything. The track is a great place to learn stuff, BUT there are plenty of things that are a "waste of time" there. Now I don't mean "waste of time" as in don't bother doing them. I mean, why spend hundreds of dollars to work on them when you can do the same stuff for free. Then, when at the track, let your muscle memory take over and work on things that aren't available for free and only trainable in that environment...
Lot Drillable Skills
- Body Position - you're absolutely wasting your time trying to improve BP on the track. It's easy to work on it just doing circles (have someone take pics so you see what you're doing, or even better have someone critique what you're doing vs what you could be doing). Make it muscle memory so you don't have to think about how you move on the bike ever again and leave it on autopilot for when you're running laps.
- Time to Angle - getting the bike from vertical to fully leaned over quickly will save you seconds per turn... while you can work on this in every turn, it's pretty obvious doing circles. If you're struggling with getting the bike to angle quickly, turn your head quickly. Also relax your outside arm and push quicker with your inside arm.
- Left to Right Transitions - make a figure 8 and work on getting from one side to the other. As you get better maintain the level of challenge by making the uturns closer together. Getting good at time-to-angle will also help.
- Vision - yes you can drill it into yourself. Especially with weird difficult gymkhana style patterns you're going to force yourself to look further.
- Trail Braking/Maintenance Throttle/Smooth Inputs - yes you can absolutely drill these in a parking lot. They're going to be harder in lurchy first gear so the errors will be much more apparent. Don't think you're proficient at them though until you can replicate it at track speeds.
- Sense of speed. Absolutely impossible to replicate in a parking lot. Can't do it without doing it for real. Hell even stepping up a bike class changes the feeling (if you switch from an SV to a GSXR600 suddenly everything changes cause you're showing up to corners that much faster)
- Line selection. You can do all the drills you want, but until you're looking at a real corner at a real pace, you're not going to be able to replicate it. You can however make it easier for yourself by leaving the "basics" (BP, steering, etc) on autopilot... aka muscle memory.
- Braking. You just can't replicate braking from 120mph down to 60mph in a parking lot. And if you do.. i'm only a little scared for you.
- Throttle application in corners. The amount of gas will change with every corner and where and how you do it. And with the speed. It's hard to practice 60mph rollon without going that speed...
- Passing, Racecraft etc. You can't practice this without doing it. You can learn this safer and cheaper on a cart track, but you absolutely should only be doing passing maneuvers on tracks.