Crescent Suzuki WSBK Press Release: Paul Denning On 2012

Crescent Suzuki sets out on a new adventure for 2012, part of the team moving up from the British Superbike series, the other part moving sideways, as some of the former Rizla Suzuki MotoGP team join the BSB contingent for their first assault on the World Superbike series. To get the new challenge started, Crescent issued a press release interview with Team Principal Paul Denning, in which he discusses what the team faces in the upcoming season. In the interview, Denning talks about the level of WSBK, the differences between the BSB-spec Suzuki GSX-R 1000 and the WSBK machine, and how he expects riders John Hopkins and Leon Camier to fare.

Below is the full text of the Crescent Suzuki press release:


Team Suzuki Press Office - January 3.

With the start of the 2012 World Superbike season less than eight weeks away, Team Suzuki Racing caught up with Paul Denning, Team Principal at the Crescent-Yoshimura backed Suzuki World Superbike Team.

The former Rizla Suzuki MotoGP Team Manager has put together a strong two-man team of British Superbike Championship runner-up John Hopkins and Suzuki newcomer Leon Camier in the squad run by long-standing Suzuki BSB Team Manager Jack Valentine.

What are your initial thoughts about the World Superbike Championship and what are your feelings about the level of competition?

Paul Denning: "The series looks very interesting for 2012 and even with Yamaha's withdrawal, the level of manufacturer representation is very positive - Suzuki, Honda, Kawasaki, Ducati, BMW and Aprilia all have strong teams, whether "factory" or privately operated and all have very fast riders. The combination of the Pirelli tyres and Superbike specification machine is an "easier" package to access the limits of performance compared to the MotoGP bikes and therefore more riders can battle for the top positions. I say that with complete respect to all the riders in SBK, who fight like animals to win, but the Superbike specification bikes generally permit closer racing and different riders going for the podium week-to-week which is great for the fans. In Superbike, the rider can still make the difference. That said - the highest quality riders, bikes and teams are the ones who always end up battling for the title and we hope to be amongst them!"

How much difference is there between your GSX-R1000 in BSB and WSBK?

Paul Denning: "The 2012 GSX-R will look pretty much the same but very few components will be shared - the whole bike has been seriously updated. Yoshimura is working very hard on the motor and we are sharing a lot of development ideas together; the suspension and brakes are all new, the Motec electronics package is updated and every single detail on the GSX-R is being carefully considered. The Suzuki is a great all-round package - we have to make sure we allow the riders to use 100% of the bike's abilities by refining the GSX-R to be as good as it can be."

Who are your main competitors in 2012?

Paul Denning: "It's a much shorter list to say who won't be! There are so many strong riders and teams and it's up to us to maximise our potential and do our best, not to second-guess who else will be quick because they all are! As Crescent Suzuki, we are the new guys in SBK and we are entering with a "quiet" attitude; we have to respect all the top teams and riders and focus on our own performance."

Will John be fully recovered and fit for the first race?

Paul Denning: "I guess the finger will never be perfect but it's good enough to race a motorcycle! John went through a lot last year - it was a minor injury that turned into a real nightmare. He's just started properly training now - after a horrible month of extremely strong antibiotics - but his base fitness levels are good enough that he'll bounce back quickly. I have no concerns - I do expect his fitness level to improve race by race - but it will be tough to be at a genuine 100% for Philip Island."

Leon is new to your team, but is experienced in WSBK, so how do you think he will adapt to the GSX-R1000?

Paul Denning: "He'll adapt easily. The bike fits him well, he likes the basic chassis feel and he knows and trusts the team. We had a tough test in Portimao but Leon still wasn't far off at the end; he'll be right at the sharp end of the fight I'm sure."

In the team's rookie year in WSBK, do you think you can challenge for the podium?

Paul Denning: "A simple straightforward question deserves a similar answer - Yes!!"


1 26th February - Australia - Phillip Island
2 4th March - TBA - TBA
3 1st April - Europe - TBA
4 22nd April - Netherlands - Assen
5 6th May - Italy - Monza
6 13th May - Europe - Donington
7 28th May - USA - Miller Motosports Park
8 10th June - San Marino - Misano
9 1st July - Spain - Motorland Aragon
10 22nd July - Czech Republic - Brno
11 5th August - United Kingdom - Silverstone
12 26th August - Russia - Moscow International Raceway
13 9th September - Germany - Nurburgring
14 7th October - France - Magny Cours
15 21st October - Portugal - Portimao

Editor's note: for a more up-to-date and correct WSBK schedule, see our 2012 World Superbike calendar page.


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Wow, I can't believe we're already less than 8 weeks out from the '12 season. SX will tide me over in the mean time, but I can't wait for my roadracing fix. I can only watch Faster/Fastest, On Any Sunday and Closer to the Edge so many times!!

PI Superpole, can't wait.

"but the Superbike specification bikes generally permit closer racing and different riders going for the podium week-to-week which is great for the fans."

I have no idea what he is talking about.

Maybe it was just an extremely complicated and cryptic way to say "Pirelli"?

It seems that he is referencing both the tire situation - the Pirellis are more forgiving by far than the GP spec Bridgestones, thus easier to reach their performance ceiling - and that the SBK bikes are much closer to each other in terms of performance.

"the Superbike specification bikes generally permit closer racing"

He is definitely talking about the bikes as well as the tires.

It is time for the teams, organizers, and the FIM to be explicit about which specifications make SBK racing closer and how the specs give the rider more control over who wins.

a lower talent level that more riders can reach. Witness one previously low achieving ex GP racer Carlos Checa 2011. Who doesn't think that Casey Stoner or Jorge Lorenzo would make a mockery of the WSBK field?

a lower talent level that more riders can reach. Witness one previously low achieving ex GP racer Carlos Checa 2011. Who doesn't think that Casey Stoner or Jorge Lorenzo would make a mockery of the WSBK field?

has written an excellent piece in this weeks paper regarding KTM entering WSB.

KTM are no strangers to racing and have been running the RC8R in Germanys International Superbike championship the IDM. They won it last year, beating Hondas, BMWs and Ducatis and are planning a full factory entry, most probably 2014.
Apparently, a 2013 entry was mooted but considered too early because of WSB rules instability.

Thomas Kuttruf: KTM.

"Consistency in the rules is the number one priority in WSB and it's exactly the same situation in GP. Right now the big bosses at KTM are confused about what will happen in WSB - it's like they are looking into a fog. For a company like ours the decision to enter this segment must be calculated correctly. We cannot justify the expense if we are just going there but we do not know what will happen with the rules in the future.

"Personally I am a big fan of the IDM rules [Superstock engine, stock chassis, open electronics and tyres]. They give a freedom to make technical progress with electronics and there is competition between the tyre manufacturers. For us having a super expensive racing version of stock bikes is too much. Our opinion is that they need to find a regulation between BSB and current WSB rules"

I'm not sure open electronics is the way forward given the irrelevance to production machines of race specific open loop, intelligent systems and their cost? BSB will run closed loop, control ECU with no TC, launch or wheelie control rider aids. It should be fun to watch this year.

This aside, it seems everyone is waiting to see how Ezpeletas new stance with the MSMA goes down, who seem to want to have it both electronics and limited fuel. Let them have the electronics and keep their fuel limit at 21litres, but give CRT open fuel and an engine a meeting.
Once the GP rules are established and the lap time set, WSB can make their rules ensuring top WSB machines remain say, 3 seconds slower than an average GP bike.
There has to be a clear distinction between them in lap time and if the factory GP prototype disappears along with the manufacturers in a huff. are CRTs fast enough to make that distinction against the present WSB machines?

And today we are 2 months from a race with no confirmed continent, never mind venue!

I guess they can hire aircraft, but accomodation will be difficult for so many people at short notice. Was this going to be a Japanese round? And I suppose the 1st April will be another Spanish track?