Suzuki MotoGP Video Series, Part 1: A Sign That Suzuki Is Serious?

When Suzuki decided to move their return to MotoGP back a year, from 2014 to 2015, questions were raised over just how serious they are about actually coming back. The odds appear stacked against them: the bikes were some way off the pace, over 1.8 seconds at Misano; Suzuki is still working with their Mitsubishi electronics unit, not yet having moved to the Magneti Marelli unit which is compulsory from 2014; and coming to MotoGP in 2015 would leave them just two seasons before a new set of regulations is to be introduced, likely to include a rev limit and compulsory spec software. Suzuki face an uphill task.

Despite the challenges, they seem determined to come back to motorcycle racing's premier class. One sign of their intent is the launch of a new four-part video series on the progress made on the MotoGP project, the first video of which was released yesterday. Though the video does not provide a huge amount of detail on their testing program, it does give a nice insight into the reality of testing in motorcycle racing: far away from the glamour of international circuits and thronging fans, a small group of people grind out the miles and spend their time pouring over data looking for improvement.

The most intriguing detail thrown up by the video is their justification for a return to the class. With the switch from a V4 to an inline four engine layout, Suzuki hopes to gain more data for their road bikes, including the GSX-R1000. Why do this in MotoGP and not World Superbikes? WSBK limits the factory in how it can change chassis geometry and design, the rules dictating that the production chassis should be the starting point. In MotoGP, engineers can experiment freely with chassis layouts, weight distribution, frame thickness, even modifying the positioning of the various gearbox and engine components with respect to each other, in pursuit of better balance and better mechnical grip. Suzuki's MotoGP program appears to be aimed at improving the GSX-R 1000 as well.

Below is the first video in the four-part series:

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I don't know about the bike development crew, but Suzuki need a need a new video production team.
A 3.5 min clip, and it's 90 seconds of routine imagery before any relevant info is imparted. Looks like it was shot by an unemployed umbrella girl on her iPhone.

...there is a logic to the idea of manufacturers testing in a prototype series with a view to benefiting their production machines.

It seems a sensible model and one I am surprised Honda and Yamaha, particularly have not really embraced- many the key features of their prototype machines having no relevance to their road bikes.

In looks also, I believe that if the R1 looked much more like the M1 it would sell in far greater numbers. If the Fireblade was a V4, I suspect it would be more interesting to many also.

The biggest miss appears to be KTM. Despite winning the world title and releasing a bike that claims to draw links to their Moto3 machine their RC singles look awful but even if they didn't, I feel certain they would sell many more if the production machine looked more like their race bike.

because, from a Japanese Co., this is commitment.
The slightly 'home-brewed' appearance isn't a problem in my view either.
I also like the linkage to the production machine. Suzuki products have become a bit stale, and this can be used to improve the image and technology that the road bikes have.
I think that if I wanted a V4 road bike I would go to Aprilia - 80% of a Honda V4 for 20% of the price (allegedly). The Honda Fireblade is probably the simplest litre sportsbike for road use, but still a great bike. The latest SP seems to have benefitted from their highly developed chassis knowledge - real, but less tangible, MGP trickle-down.
I hope Suzuki can make this project work for them too.

I am positing that the change to the I-4 has a lot to do with budgeting as well as the need to change how the V4 power delivery notoriously destroyed their tires.

Let's hope that the Gp rules stabilize or at least move in a manner that allows for Suzuki and Kawasaki to return and Aprilia to make a full blown proto to race.

I think the mitsubisi electronics were most likely to blame for the tyre wear situation.

With the financial situation at Suzuki hopefully this gp bike is the base for their new superbike as well the original gsxr 1000 was 990cc for a reason.