MotoMatters.com is delighted to feature the work of iconic MotoGP writer Mat Oxley. Oxley is a former racer, TT winner and highly respected author of biographies of world champions Mick Doohan and Valentino Rossi, and currently writes for Motor Sport Magazine, where he is MotoGP correspondent. We are featuring sections from Oxley's blogs, which are posted in full on the Motor Sport Magazine website.
Suzuki’s GSX-RR needs to shift its shape and fast!
Joan Mir’s MotoGP title defence has been distinctly underwhelming so far, largely thanks to Suzuki falling behind with its shapeshifter technology
Shock absorbers, low-drag bodywork, disc brakes, monoshock suspension, aluminium-alloy frames, reed-valve induction, upside-down forks, carbon brakes, big-bang firing configurations, traction control, engine-braking control, launch control, reactive electronics, seamless gearboxes and downforce aerodynamics.
These are all technologies introduced over the decades in grand prix racing by one factory or another and quickly copied by rivals because they gave such a vital advantage.
Now it’s holeshot devices and shapeshifters. The latest gadget war was started (of course) by Ducati at the end of 2018, with its holeshot device, and at the end of 2019, with its shapeshifter.
As you surely know by now that the rear holeshot device and shapeshifter do the same job: they both squat the rear of the motorcycle to lower its centre of mass, which reduces wheelies, so the rider can open the throttle harder and therefore accelerate faster. The holeshot device is used at the start, the shapeshifter when exiting corners followed by longish straights.
Now all the factories have rear holeshot devices/shapeshifters except Suzuki and it’s costing the world champions very dear.
GSX-RR riders Joan Mir and Álex Rins were the stars of 2020 but so far this year Rins has yet to see the podium and Mir has yet to climb higher than the bottom step. Mir currently stands fifth overall, 55 points behind championship leader Fabio Quartararo. That’s not an insurmountable gap, so long as Mir gets a shapeshifter very soon.
“We must work to have the device as soon as possible, so we can start the race with the same tools as the other riders,” said Mir after fighting through from tenth to third at Assen.
Read the rest of Mat Oxley's blog on the Motor Sport Magazine website.