Suzuki's MotoGP Prototype Makes Another Early Appearance On Cycle World

Suzuki's MotoGP contender has made another 'surprise' appearance, this time being spotted in Japan. The respected US publication Cycle World has their legendary technical editor Kevin Cameron break down the changes to the bike between the first time it was spotted and this time, and his analysis makes for fascinating reading.

According to Cameron, the bike remains an inline four, though the exhaust has been modified from a four-into-two-into-one to a four-into-one. The firing order - the Cycle World story says it retains a big-bang firing order, sounding like Yamaha's M1 - also remains, but the chassis and swingarm has undergone major changes. Flexibility has been added to the swingarm, and the bike looks physically smaller.

The rest of the press will get a chance to see the bike in person when it makes its public debut at the Barcelona tests in mid-June, probably with official test rider Randy de Puniet at the helm. The question of who will run Suzuki when they return to the paddock is still up in the air. It is widely expected that the Aspar team will take over the running of the team, though Davide Brivio, formerly Valentino Rossi's manager at Yamaha, has also been linked to the deal.

Suzuki will have to enter through an existing team, though, as part of Dorna's new rules on controlling the grid. With only 24 permanent entries allowed, Dorna is keen to retain the teams who have remained in the series, rather than lose them to the entry of a factory. Given Suzuki's previous behavior, never fielding more than two machines, despite numerous requests to do more, cutting back to a single bike in 2011 and then pulling out altogether in 2012, Dorna does not want to risk losing more teams if Suzuki change their mind again. Given the continued weakness of the motorcycle market, and Suzuki's tight budgets, it is still unclear whether Suzuki can sustain a MotoGP effort in the long term.

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3rd paragraph "when it makes its public debut at the Barcelona tests in mid-March", I'm pretty sure you meant mid-June ;-)

Also you mention that "the exhaust has been modified from a four-into-two-into-one to a four-into-one" but about a year ago there were 2 exhaust pipes?

Anyway last year's photos make for an interesting comparison, apart from the 2 exhaust pipes turned into one it's clear that the bike is more nimble, the fairings (nose, side and back) are different and the massive swingarm has been modified from what looked like an anvil at first to something that at least looks more reasonable (I know looks are irrelevant but the former swingarm sure seemed heavy).

Photos from May 2012 are available here:

In particular this picture shows the most visible differences between the prototype spotted one year ago and the more recent one:

Yes, I got my dates mixed up.... Fixed it now, should have been mid-June.

I like the technical analysis, but that article has such an incredibly negative tone about MotoGP I found it hard to get through. It seems a miracle the writer would even be interested in the Suzuki the way he drones about the sport being pretty much doomed.

Kevin Cameron is of the era where anyone could enter a GP, if he could show up, pay the entry and qualify. Now you have to have your team approved, and even if you have the budget, bikes, sponsors, riders lined up, the kingpin of the sport may simply say NO, and you have no recourse. Carmelo has decided that for now, 24 bikes is the max and that's it, until next time he changes his mind. A shame really, because there is a lot of deserving talent out there. Redding, both Espargaros, where to put Cal next year, where Hayden will go etc. More good riders than grid spots doesn't improve the show IMO

Sorry, I completely disagree. Suzuki reneged on their deal with Dorna and pulled out. Dorna is protecting the non factory teams and they should be supported instead of ridiculed, and that includes Carmelo Ezpeleta. The continual blame I read on here from posters towards Carmelo and Dorna in general, well I do not agree. You should have a go managing a sport where the factories, in particular one Japanese factory, cry and threaten to leave when things get stern or they don't get their way. If Carmelo stands hard and fast, they'll leave, and people will complain profusely. If he gives in to keep X factory, then people complain. They are in a no win situation.

Again Suzuki reneged on their previous deal, hurting the series. They need to go through an existing team and when they show they can stay the course they can have their own factory team. I applaud Dorna for this stance. They don't want to lose, or hurt their Satellite efforts.

He does not say anything about Suzuki, his post is about the restriction of GP entries on largely arbitrary lines. There is something fair about having a system that if you can pay the bills and qualify then you can race. It is much fairer than attempting to get into the Spanish 'ol boys club.

That said, if Suzuki can come back, pay their own way and be relatively competitive, wouldn't it be better and nicer to have 26 bikes on the grid instead of 24? Would't not involving the satellite teams with iffy factory efforts do more to protect their grid presence? What if Suzuki leave again? Then Aspar has to find good bikes again which due to Dorna's factory production limit rule is difficult. Restricting bike numbers does nothing more than put more power in the hands of those who make them, the factories, the same people that Dorna want to reduce power of.


The last time they pulled out people lost their jobs. So tell your tale to those boys. Making Suzuki prove themselves through an existing team which doesn't interrupt employment in that paddock isn't unreasonable. They reneged before and Dorna doesn't want them doing this again. Pretty crystal.

Suzuki clearly wants to race, but they have been hindered on many levels ie poor sales in many markets, failed business partnerships and the most pertinent to this discussion - the ever changing rulebook. Since the advent of four stroke top class machinery we have had 990's, 800's, 1000's, CRT's and now upcoming Factory leased engines/chassis packages and a smattering of rules changes within each of those classes including spec ECU's and last minute weight changes etc. Dorna would do itself no disservice by actually defining what the class is, and allowing machinery to enter, whether for 1 race or more.

The 107% rule keeps out the worst of the chaff anyway, and having more wild cards and overall entries would be great for the sport. With the leased machinery available next year, all the investment in time/R&D of the CRT teams flies out the window too. What if Honda and Yamaha combined do not produce enough machinery to fill the remaining non factory 12 grid spots? Will there be 3 tiers of machinery then? To keep a willing factory on the sidelines in that type of environment is madness.

Carmen saying 24 bikes is max? I mean the CRT bikes as they stand save for perhaps one or two don't belong on the grid... at all (I have to agree with Casey Stoner on that one - though I'd rather not).

and they're telling suzuki NO? man... that's arrogant and to me, just plain dumb IMHO..

I do realize they backed out on their side of the bargain - I also realize that the world is 'trying' to emerge from the worst fiscal crisis in 80 years....

I respect Ducati for Sticking it out...however, without the tabbacco money, that Dorna hates so much it, racing in Motogp wouldn't of been a reality for them either.

Maybe carmen could try to understand that? It shouldn't be so hard living in a country with nearly 20% un-employment? While considering there are only 8 bikes on the grid currently that even have a prayer of winning in a given weekend... I love motogp - But honestly a bit more practical and amicable approach is warranted to this "problem" (if having another factory bike on the grid IS a problem).

It's so easy to be an arm chair quarter back:-)...

They seem to have tried to take some of the Honda (mass centralization,chassis and swingarm design, tuned flex) and the Yamaha (small inline virtual V4) which isn't a terrible approach to be truthful. The latest bike looks very refined, small, would be nice to see more. Night and day from their old project

If you look at where Bautista is finishing on the factory Honda and where he was putting the last of the Suzuki gp bikes, I'd bet Suzuki will be looking for a proven alien. Could Honda finally give up on pedrosa if marques continues to out perform him? I'd love to see cal on the Suzuki, and CRT hero espagro has to be in with a shout on current form. They'd be mad to employ anyone new to the tyres / carbon brakes / tracks.

90%+ of everything I ever learned about how motorcycles/engines and how they work I learned from Kevin Cameron. I used to have piles of moto mags back in the day and there were countless contributors. But, when I saw a KC article I knew I was in for an insightful treat of technical knowledge. Hail Kevin!

Suzuki's 4 stroke campaign. One single win. Their resources are way beyond Ducati's yet Ducati have been at the whipping post for over 2 seasons now.
And my point is ?. Agree with BrickTop.
It would be more beneficial for the sport to coax Aprillia back into the manufacturer prototype fold. BMW in due course.

I love this paragraph. Kevin Cameron certainly knows what he's saying:

"Because Dorna now claims its MotoGP grid is “full” (half the slots being taken by uninspiring CRT teams), Suzuki will supposedly have to make an arrangement with an existing team to get places on the grid. All such arrangements will be in flux once the Honda production racers and Yamaha lease engines arrive to supposedly “transform” the sport in 2014 and eliminate place-holding CRTs. Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta is admired in certain circles for “keeping ’em guessing” with frequent and often contradictory changes of plan, but the current view is that Honda has taken his measure and will not easily tolerate more of what MotoGP boss Shuhei Nakamoto has called “crazy rules.” This is not a solution. It is merely the current political “détente” in this sport. Honda’s goals remain what they have always been: to dominate all classes, even if that makes racing a bore, reducing its value to all."

What a beautiful motorcycle. I'd love to sit down with a MotoGp engineer and go through the pros and cons of the v4/i4 designs. I would guess that a lot comes down to what kind of rider you think you can get.

I suppose the i4 design can put more weight over the front tire, but the v4 would have more drive from lower RPM. But of course a lot depends on the engine management system.

So interesting to see how the Aprilia shapes up against the competition in WSBK, and how the RC213V and the M1 swap the advantage depending on which circuit they go to.