Here is a check list:
1. Why? If you can't answer this question, you can't prepare for the result.
If you want to go faster to impress your friends (be honest), then it may be easier to pick new friends. If you want to go faster because you enjoy the way you feel ( my primary motivation) then you have a problem, you are an addict.
2. Why are you riding a pig? Is your bike stock, with the only adjustments made sag, or sag and clickers? Or none? Guess what. There is a REASON racers buy aftermarket suspension. Unfortunately many stock bikes ( the new R6 and GSXR's are nice exceptions) just have poor suspension designed for the street and a comfortable ride. Even good suspension with a poor setup will be pig slow. If you are fighting the bike to turn it, something is wrong. A bike should turn easily and be fun to ride. If it ain't, you need to find out why. Don't spend $2k on trackdays to "get faster" when a five minute adjustment to shock length might remove all of your turning problems. If you can't turn it easily, something is wrong.
3. Who are you riding with? If you are riding with your friends, and kinda go back and forth on the track, that's lots of fun, but unless your friends are fast ( and they probably are not) you won't get any faster. Wanna go faster? Hang out with the faster riders. That gives you something to aim at. Without a goal, you are stuck.
4. The main difference between you and the guy ten seconds a lap faster than you is, guess what, not skill, bike, or magic. It's that your level of comfort is lower than his. Sorry. That's pretty much it. He or she is more comfortable and relaxed than you are. Try and grasp that... It is important.
5. What do you expect? Want to get five seconds a lap faster? It's easy to do when you are turning 2:35s at Thill. When you are turning 2:05s at Thill on an SV, there are only five seconds left. When you are turning 2:05 at Thill on ANY bike, you won't pick up five seconds in one day. Don't try to. If you pick up three seconds in a season you have done really well.
6. Tires. No they are not slowing you down. YOU are slowing you down.
7. Bumps. No they are not slowing you down. The only place they might is at the apex of a corner.
8. Get used to the bike moving around. Dirt bike riders are. If you are not shuddering, juddering, rotating around the headstock on braking, sliding, twitching, and shaking the front end, you are not going fast. Watch a GP bike with a fork mounted camera some time. All that movement does not mean something is wrong, it means something is right.
Your experience may vary.
Interested what the national forums will say. I think its a pretty good list and has some useful info. All input is welcome.Oh and just so its known, this is not my writing. I picked it up off a local forum.