Suzuki Set to Join MotoGP Test After Barcelona Round

Suzuki's MotoGP return is drawing closer. Speaking to Crash.net's Peter McLaren, Suzuki test rider Nobuatsu Aoki confirmed that testing on the brand new bike - an inline four with a big-bang firing order - was progressing well and that the bike would make its first public outing at the post-race test at Barcelona, after the MotoGP round there in mid-June. Aoki himself would be riding at the test, he said, alongside 'one European rider'. That is widely expected to be Randy de Puniet, though Aoki refused to name the rider.

The bike had already undergone extensive testing in Japan, Aoki told Crash.net, both at Suzuki's private test track and at Motegi. A new version of the bike had been tried last week, and Aoki pronounced himself happy with both the engine and the chassis. Suzuki's plan is to enter as a full MSMA team, which means that the factory will have just 5 engines per season and 20 liters of fuel per race at their disposal. The benefit of competing as an MSMA entry is that they will be allowed to write their own software for the spec Magneti Marelli ECU, and compete on the same terms as Honda, Yamaha and Ducati.

There is still no news on exactly how the team will be run or who will manage it. Dorna boss Carmelo Ezpeleta has made it clear a number of times that Suzuki is welcome to come back to MotoGP, but that if they enter, they will have to use an existing team. Given the involvement of Randy de Puniet, and Aspar's previous association with Suzuki, paddock speculation centers on Suzuki linking up with Aspar for 2014.

Suzuki's MotoGP return is drawing closer. Speaking to Crash.net's Peter McLaren, Suzuki test rider Nobuatsu Aoki confirmed that testing on the brand new bike - an inline four with a big-bang firing order - was progressing well and that the bike would make its first public outing at the post-race test at Barcelona, after the MotoGP round there in mid-June. Aoki himself would be riding at the test, he said, alongside 'one European rider'. That is widely expected to be Randy de Puniet, though Aoki refused to name the rider.The bike had already undergone extensive testing in Japan, Aoki told Crash.net, both at Suzuki's private test track and at Motegi. A new version of the bike had been tried last week, and Aoki pronounced himself happy with both the engine and the chassis. Suzuki's plan is to enter as a full MSMA team, which means that the factory will have just 5 engines per season and 20 liters of fuel per race at their disposal. The benefit of competing as an MSMA entry is that they will be allowed to write their own software for the spec Magneti Marelli ECU, and compete on the same terms as Honda, Yamaha and Ducati.

Comments

This is great news ! Now I

This is great news !

Now I want De Puniet and Spies riding for Suzuki in 2014 ;-)

Total votes: 63

Right on the money

Silly season starts before Sepang 2 is half way through. Spies and De Puniet with Aspar is a good call. Suzuki get two very good and experienced riders dirt cheap.
Way too early to even speculate,but I hope Suzuki show serious promise at the Catalan test and it all falls into place at Sepang 1 next year.

Total votes: 48

Why an existing team?

Why wouldn't Dorna allow for more teams on the grid, if Suzuki wanted to come and form a new team? More bikes are better, no?

Total votes: 51

Dorna wants to replace

Dorna wants to replace existing bikes with better ones, not just add on more bikes. Plus with an existing team, if (when) Suzuki decides to bail again, the existing team can use different bikes, so the grid numbers aren't adversely affected.

Total votes: 57

Adding more bikes

Too many bikes on the grid is indeed a persistent problem in MotoGP.

Total votes: 53

Rules

Still hard to see how a team would not basically collapse anyhow if the factory withdrew after exerting more and more control after a few years. And surely Suzuki would not want to be dependent on any particular team for their factory effort - are Honda, Yamaha or Ducati? No, those three call all the shots in their factory teams. What if Suzuki underperform and they feel it's due to the crap team they have to operate under? Can they put the broom through? Sounds like no, so not really a level playing field.

And what about the three current factory teams - are they now entities to themselves or still intrinsically linked to their factory? Can Factory Ducati decide they are being held back by the machinery and put their hand up to take on Suzuki/Kawasaki/Norton or even a proddy Honda?? Doubt it. So it's one set of rules for us, and another set for you.

Too many damn rules. I know a few people in Spain and in spite of the wonderful aspects of the country and culture, every part of life there seems to labour under the weight of massive bureaucracy. This over-bureaucratised model has not worked out well for Spain...

Total votes: 51

Rules

What you have forgotten is that Suzuki were entered as a factory team with all its privileges only a couple of years ago, were granted concessions not offered to other factory teams including the rookie rule waived so Bautista could come direct from 250's, extra engine allocations over what was allowed for Ducati/Honda/Yamaha, allowed to field just one bike & a host of other financial incentives yet they still broke the contract they signed with Dorna & walked off. I'm certainly no fan of Carmelo but in this case he is correct in his stance with Suzuki. That is the door is open for involvement in MotoGP but trust needs to be established before factory team status is conferred.

Total votes: 55

OK, but

Sure, their effort was half-hearted even in the better years, and they got concessions and still walked. I can't recall what terms of contract they broke was, did they really break a contract when they withdrew, or did they simply not renew? In any case - so what? Factories have come and gone for decades. If this latest dumb rule was not in place Suzuki would join AS WELL AS Aspar, so there'd be at least 2 more bikes on the grid. If they went in another 2 years, so what? Aspar would still be there (if they had survived). And anyhow, if Suzuki jumps in with Aspar for 2-3 years, exerting more and more control over the team as they rightly should, what happens if they leave again? Aspar's team will still have had the rug pulled out from under them, bikes, riders, sponsors, team personell all thrown into chaos. Will it be any different?

Like the rookie rule, unintended consequences may see a small team even worse off in this scenario than without. Too many rules.

Total votes: 59

Agree with Breg

And not for nothing (and I may be mistaken), but should Dorna be turning screws when they themselves were in violation of their contract as promoter of the series when they failed to field the required number of bikesbon the grid - a symptom of their allowing themselves to be led by their noses by the MSMA.

It would seem to me that Suzuki should have more leverage than they are giving themselves credit for; would fans rather watch a factory backed effort where talented riders can be acquired or an SBK bike being piloted by someone that can afford to pay seat fees?

Total votes: 53

Team

Question; an existing team in MotoGP, or an existing team that has been in MotoGP?

Could Suzuki just get Crescent to run the team as before, or do they have to go down the route of speaking to Aspar or PBM?

Total votes: 52

I believe rules state

That it must be an existing team.

Total votes: 39

BIG BANG

I thought the Big Bang was when planet earth got its start. Is Suzuki contemplating something truly apocalyptic in MotoGP? Perhaps they should concentrate on getting their Superbike a bit further up the grid.

Total votes: 53

need cooperation, really?

Are Dorna seriously suggesting that if, by some miracle, BMW, Kawasaki, Aprilia, KTM all decided they wanted to field 'factory' they would each be obliged to hook up with some second/lower rate (sorry guys, but come on!) team?

It is commendable to support those who've been loyal but there are other ways to do that.

As others have eluded motogp has long struggled with numbers on the grid, recently and historically and refuse a factory from operating it's own team is idiotic.

Much of the criticism of Dorna seems unfair to me but this..?

Total votes: 56

Dorna

It's pretty clear that Dorna make the rules almost hourly to suit whatever they need at the moment.

I can't see the good of forcing Suzuki to use an existing team. It's just more Dorna meta-junk which never seems to fill the grid or make/save teams money, yet they keep piling it on.

Total votes: 53

Context, and fuel/engines

Interesting time for our sport. Can't extricate the call to have Suzuki come back w/o a bit of mutuality of intention from the context of Dorna's push back on the Manufacturers re the direction of the sport. I understand it less in context of '# of rules' (which clearly need to be simplified, srreamlined and kept in continuity for sure) or bureaucracy (DORNA should not have LESS presence in guiding the series).
Nor can the dynamic of DORNA and the Manufacturers be extricated from the dramatic changes in sport specific funding and the global economic contraction.
I am thinking more about Suzuki's choice to pass on more fuel and engines per year in exchange for their own crap sandwich electronics programming! Very odd call in my (albeit limited) perspective! With their limited budgets and clear weakness in this area I can't see the benefit of that call unless it in longer term positioning.
Perhaps what we will remember of this odd re-orienting and transitional period will be the wise adaptation Aprillia was prepared for, able, and willing to pull off. If they beat Ducati satellites consistently and knock off some Japanese satellite riders they pulled of a dandy.
Oddly, they could be the losers in Suzuki's Aspar entrance, couldn't they?

Total votes: 43

It's a problem of management....

Dorna manages MotoGP horribly. Period. To sit around and say the state of MotoGP is the manufacture's fault is rather ridiculous. Yeah, the MSMA made some selfish decisions, but only because Dorna needs to learn to manage their own series properly. Without a strong leader at the top, the people in the middle start calling the shots.

Now Dorna want's to neuter WSBK because it needs to make MotoGP look good. Dorna running both series is a MASSIVE conflict of interest. I have no idea how the FIM even allowed this to happen. Now the great racing and technology in SBK get's dumbed down to super-superstock. Pathetic.

I've said it once and I'll say it again, Dorna needs to ATTRACT MONEY to the sport, not cut costs. Historically, the sport is just as expensive as it always has been, the difference being before this little know commodity to Dorna called "sponsors" used to foot most of the bill because they received airtime through quality TV coverage. How Dorna have managed to turn one of the most exciting sports on earth into the most unattractive to sponsors is beyond me. It's also sad, and pathetic.

Total votes: 45

Sponsorship

While I agree that Dorna certainly need to do more to attract sponsorship to the sport, the problem is not that the big bucks sponsors have abandoned the series, they were banned! A vast majority of the cash in motorcycle racing used to come from tobacco companies, who are no longer allowed to advertise, so see no reason to invest (ignoring the Philip Morris group for now, as I suspect their days are numbered). The real issue facing the sport today is a hangover from over-dependence on a single revenue source.

Yes Dorna needs to find new markets to invest in bike racing (such as some of the more colourful ideas in sofaracer's recent article (http://www.motomatters.com/blog/2013/02/08sofaracer_speaks_of_moto3_shan...), but equally we need to realise that 'austerity measures' (for want of a better term) need to be put in place as an interim solution, allowing the series to survive long enough for people to invest in it.

As for the MotoGP vs WSBK debate, the Flammini brothers spent years intentionally de-regulating superbikes to compete with MotoGP, moving the 'production' series further and further from the showroom models. Yes, there was clearly a conflict of interest in bringing both series under a single management team, but only because WSBK had been deliberately attempting to poach elements of the MotoGP 'market'. Even Dorna aren't daft enough to allow WSBK to continue to become more and more of a prototype (sorry, extremely-limited-production-that-isn't-actually-available-to-buy) series, which could potentially destroy both championships.

Total votes: 53

Oh Please!

You think it was just tobacco that propped up racing? Please! If you can't use tobacco sponsorship, use something else! Formula 1 has done just fine without tobacco thank you very much. Repsol has been sponsoring Honda for years, no decades now, and they are an oil company. People need to stop crying about the loss of cigarette money and move on. There are TONS of companies that would invest in MotoGP if they knew the return on investment was worth it. Energy drink companies could be the next tobacco companies if the sport was attractive enough to them, but they support cautiously at best because just like the fans they see something isn't right.

You think the people in the marketing departments of these companies don't read us complaining that our sport is being ruined on blogs just like this?!? They see the mess and say, "thanks, but no thanks". Meanwhile, Dorna thinks it can keep raising sanctioning fees and punishing fans for sharing 3 minute clips of free practice on Youtube. Ridiculous. Carmelo needs to get over his Ecclestone complex and humble himself a bit to the fact that MotoGP isn't on the same level as F1. You can't command the same attention just because they are both the premier classes of their respective sports. MotoGP will have to EARN IT first.

WSBK got it right not because they allowed the bikes to get more advanced, but because they made the championship accessible to most any team that wanted to join. While Yamaha's factory team used under-seat fuel tanks and the like, Ducati still won the World Championship with an old design. You think it's the $15k Ohlins superbike forks that are breaking the bank? No, most team principals will tell you it's not, it's the logistics of air travel, staffing, etc. that breaks the bank.

Dorna needs to bring interest back into the sport by making it attractive for companies to participate, not by demanding anything from anybody by force. While WSBK makes events friendly and accessible to fans, Dorna walks around with it's nose-in-the-air elitist bullshit attitude and expects people to just swallow it. Sorry, but that is not how to run a series. All manufactures know this too, and guess where most of them choose to play...

The reason why WSBK flourished while MotoGP floundered was not that the rules in WSBK were too close to GP, it was simply because it was a BETTER MANAGED SERIES.

Total votes: 46

I don't know how far WSBK bikes are compared to stock models

However I do know that the racing there is probably the best on the planet right now.

In comparison, MotoGP is an incredibly dull procession. On top of that, there are only like 4 bikes that are allowed to win.

Total votes: 40

Dorna is right!

I believe a lot of people are right in saying there are too many, and too complex rules in the sport... but when it wasn't like this, it didn't work either! Something had to be done, and you can slowly see the results, and they are positive. CRT is getting closer to the factories and there are more people on the grid.

The rules that Dorna puts up now for Suzuki for a re-entry in the MotoGP are justified by the way that Suzuki has treated the sport. It was not Dorna's fault that factories withdrew but the whole global economy in combination with the factories putting all their money (and more) in trying to find the few extra tenths. This situation made it ridiculous for everybody (including the factories) to keep competing, because nobody wants to come second. If there's no money to come first, then what's the point?

With all the additional rules, the field is getting closer and closer to eachother. This promises to give more races where they keep fighting for position. The viewer doesn't see the difference if a bike runs a lap at 2:00:100 or 2:02:100, but if the faster bikes are slowed down (by these new rules), at least we'll get some competition, more people will watch the races and when more people watch races, more money comes in.

David has written a few really good articles about all of this that make perfect sense. I am the last person to say that rules are good, I don't like to be boxed in either, like to do whatever I want to do and not having anyone telling me what I can't do... but seriously, this sport needs it. If these rules are abandoned and everybody's free to do what they want, the participants will again destroy the championship and MotoGP won't be able to survive.

Look at what they've done to Superbike... they're supposed to be road racing bikes to make people see how their own bikes compare to others if a professional rider is racing it. All they are, are MotoGP bikes with a recognizable fairing on it!
Now people have to watch the stock races which are barely broadcasted anywhere. Too much is going on and if it takes rules to get back to the basics, then I'm all for it.

Total votes: 57

Flammini bros

WSB level bikes were no different than AMA & BSB bikes for years. The real fight came when MGP went 4-stroke. So don't blame the bros. Over the years we'be seen some pretty neat stuff even in the AMA pitts.

I love both series but Dorna can't have a favorite son. This is a big mistake and they both will suffer in the end.

Total votes: 58

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