Confirmed At Last: Suzuki To Race In MotoGP From 2015 With Maverick Viñales And Aleix Espargaro

Suzuki have revealed yet another of MotoGP's worst-kept secrets (and the competition has been tough for that claim this year) at the Intermot motorcycle show in Cologne, Germany, officially confirming that they will be returning to MotoGP from next season, after an absence of three seasons. Suzuki team boss Davide Brivio unveiled the latest version of Suzuki's MotoGP bike - now dubbed GSX-RR - and announced that Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Viñales will race for the team. At the same time, Suzuki also confirmed that Randy De Puniet will race as a wildcard on the bike at the final MotoGP round of the season at Valencia.

The official announcement had been a long time coming, despite the riders and team being an open secret. The wait had been down to a request from Suzuki headquarters at Japan, who had wanted to combine the team launch with the launch of Suzuki's 2015 road bike line up at the Intermot show. The presence of senior Suzuki staff at the launch was seen by the team as a powerful display of support by the Japanese factory.

More interestingly, the launch of the MotoGP team alongside the road bikes underlines Suzuki's view of the strength of MotoGP as a marketing tool. The rebranding of the bike as the GSX-RR provides a very strong link to Suzuki's GSX-R line of sports bikes, as is the decision to switch from a V4 to an inline four for the engine design. Suzuki's MotoGP project is now much more closely aligned with their road heritage. 

The announcement that Randy De Puniet will race as a wildcard at Valencia is also proof of Suzuki's commitment to MotoGP. The Frenchman will give the GSX-RR its first race outing, while Espargaro and Viñales will test the bike from the Monday after the race, at the traditional post-race test. De Puniet is reported to be moving on to a role with Suzuki, testing the Michelins for the factory. He is also rumored to be in the frame as the second rider in the Voltcomm Suzuki team, alongside Alex Lowes.

Suzuki pulled out of MotoGP at the end of the 2011 season, when they did not have a 1000cc MotoGP machine ready to race when the new rules came into effect for 2012. Suzuki had been struggling more and more in the preceding years, cutting from two to just one rider for 2011, before pulling out altogether. Suzuki asked for permission to continue racing their 800cc GSV-R from 2012, but that request was turned down. After three years developing a new bike, they are ready to return to the premier class.

Below is the press release from Suzuki and further photos of the new bike:


SUZUKI ANNOUNCES 2015 MOTOGP PARTICIPATION

Team Suzuki Press Office – September 30.

Suzuki announces its participation in the world’s top motorcycle racing series Road Racing Grand Prix (MotoGP) from 2015.

Suzuki Motor Corporation has announced that it will participate in the MotoGP class of the world’s top motorcycle racing series, the FIM*1 Road Racing Grand Prix (MotoGP), from 2015, at the press conference of the INTERMOT International Motorcycle, Scooter and Bicycle Fair held in Cologne, Germany from 30 September to 5 October, 2014.

With the development of the MotoGP machine and team structure prepared, Suzuki has decided to participate in the MotoGP series from 2015, and announced its newly-developed MotoGP machine, the GSX-RR, team riders, and team structure. Also, prior to its participation, Suzuki will make a wildcard appearance at this season’s final race, the Valencia GP.

Suzuki had temporarily suspended its participation in MotoGP from 2012, but has been continuing with the machine development toward its return. Through MotoGP racing, Suzuki will develop more attractive products by giving technical feedback to the products, and improve the brand image.

MotoGP machine GSX-RR

The development of the GSX-RR was started in 2012 with the aim to achieve high performance in the MotoGP class, as well as to give technology feedback to production models such as the GSX-R range.

It utilises a newly-developed in-line four-cylinder engine that realizes a strong, flexible engine character, fuel efficiency, and durability at a high level.

The frame has a layout that keeps its width slim for both maneuverability and aerodynamic performances, and optimizes body strength and weight balance.

The aim was to develop a highly competitive MotoGP machine that can bring out the straightforward maneuverability developed over the years with the GSX-R.

Basic specification of the GSX-RR:

Overall length x width x height: 2,096mm x 720mm x 1,140mm.
Wheelbase: 1,457mm.
Body weight: 160kg (based on FIM regulation).
Engine type: Water-cooled, four-stroke in-line four-cylinder, DOHC four-valve.
Displacement: 1,000cm3.
Maximum output: Over 169kw (230PS).
Frame type: Twin-spar aluminum.
Tyres (front/rear): 16.5in/16.5in.
Front suspension: Ohlins, inverted fork.
Rear suspension: Ohlins.
Brakes (front/rear): Carbon disk/steel disk, Brembo.

Team structure

Team name: Team Suzuki MotoGP.
Team riders: Aleix ESPARGARO (Spain): currently racing in MotoGP/ Maverick VIÑALES (Spain): currently racing in Moto2.
Team Manager: Davide BRIVIO (Italy): current test team manager.

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Comments

I still remember those 'leaked' photos of a completely black bike. How far we've come.

Welcome back Suzuki, and good on you for signing Vinales. Can't wait to see that kid in MotoGP!

Welcome back and good luck.

I think the bike looks fantastic. Tastefull bodywork.

I hope they also go for the equally tasteful paddock girls with handcuffs...

I like the light blue; no Rizla any longer, but look they have one sponsor already, who make a very good brake cleaner.

I hope they also go for the equally tasteful paddock girls with handcuffs...

I like the light blue; no Rizla any longer, but look they have one sponsor already, who make a very good brake cleaner.

Brilliant cross branding, but the problem with the big Gixxer isn't with marketing, its that the bike is long in the tooth. Good first step but product is KING, I do wonder if we're going to finally see a GSX-R250/300 designed with SE Asian markets in mind?

We know they are driving popularity growth of GP and we know they love their small sport bikes. Would be an excellent tie in, Yamaha did the same with Valentino and the R25.

Sorry for the slight digression, the business side can often be more intriguing than the on track shenanigans.

Welcome back. Maverick and Goose, anyone?? ;)

That's awesome! I'm going to refer to Aleix as Goose from now on.

sharp looking bike for sure. but my question is how far along with a title sponsor are they? Lets get Rizla back!!! Maybe Zig Zag would be interested!!

an equally good prospective title sponsor!

i never joke, and don't call me Shirley!

the meanest-looking bike on the grid at Valencia. The bubble might burst when the red lights go out, but right now I love everything about the bike, from design to riders to marketing plan. Although, with Brivio leading the thing, you had to guess it'd be worth watching.

Wow. Five manufacturers/factory teams next year. Is The Great Recession finally over?

Can we please have a range of GSXRs styled as close as possible to exactly the same?

Including a 400 and 250

"New Suzuki models introduced at the Cologne show include the new GSX-R1000S, which will be available in the MotoGP machine colour scheme in some countries"

From the Brivio Q&A above.

I agree the bike looks good. And Viñales and Espargaro are good catches for the team, though I kind of hoped Randy would get one more chance.

It's kind of interesting to see how the factories are angling for the young talent.

Honda has both Marquez brothers. They've also nabbed Jack Miller via LCR.
And Alex Rins is currently riding for them. I'm sure they'll try to keep him. They've also kept Redding thanks to the new Mark VDS Moto GP team. When Rabat moves up to Moto GP, he'll probably stick with Mark VDS, and Honda will get him, too. Wow, they seem to have just about everyone!

Yamaha have Pol Espargaro, and I suppose they'll get Romano Fenati thanks to the Rossi connection, but that's about it.

There are going to be more factories in Moto GP, but Honda has swept up all the best riders.

It is also very good that riders leave Honda because of various reasons, like Vale :-)

One future rider you didn't list is the young Frenchman Quartararo, who will ride in Alzamora's Moto3 team next year. That's also a lock-in for Honda.

One tiny ray of hope is the fact that the regulations only allow 4 factory spec bikes. The rest of the Honda rider squad will have to make do with the less powerful open spec bikes. So they might be tempted to look for a full factory spec bike at another manufacturer.

However, one thing Honda are usually not is stupid. They will make sure they keep the best 4 riders they can get. Which precludes Valentino and Maverick, there's some bad blood and burnt bridges between them and HRC.

I'd like to know how Yamaha will approach the whole Pol Espargaro situation. The two works bikes are occupied by VR46 and JL99 for the next two years. Pol will want to move up to a full factory bike in 2016, and not wait for 2017 and the possibility of still being ride-blocked by a never-aging Rossi. ;-)

I also still harbor the secret hope that Yamaha can get their contractual hands on Alex Marquez. Maybe he'll want to differentiate himself from his elder brother, use a different bike to achieve his own personal greatness. We do live in interesting MotoGP times, don't we?

The new trick on the grid has some shapely curves and a nice cobalt blue outfit - but she's got competition. There aren't many ugly MotoGP bikes - and what matters is how fast she accelerates, brakes and negotiates the twisty bits. If she can't do the moves, she'll soon be a despised wallflower.
I wish Maverick and Aleix good luck at the dance - but where's that guy with the Brut aftershave?

But every time I see this bike it just reminds me of Marvin the depressed robot...

Happy and excited, like many, for the return of Suzuki and Aprilia
BUT
My guess is that this bike will be turning lap times that will have Vinales wishing he were on the Miller Lite Honda (most of the RCV taste, but reduced power). My expectations are low on power output and rideability, Miller's Prod Honda will at least have the latter and perhaps even more grunt than the Suzuki, likely more useable grunt.

Hopes increased w A Espargaro on it...that kid has been bringing home bacon that his bikes aren't up to hauiling. If anyone can do it, it is Aleix. Will he get his ass kicked by Crutchlow's LCR Honda? I am putting my dollar down on yes, and raising it another 5 bikes' gap back...ahead of Avintia Ducatis, battling in the middle of the Open Honda Cup. And LAST of the Factory bikes.

What gets interesting for me is what happens when Michelins are a go. What a mystery! Front feel up, grip down, and mixed with less refined electronics - outright power deficits may be minimized and favor a rider like A Espargaro AND younger riders or more adaptive riders. Having a hard time seeing Lorenzo coming out ahead in the deal. Remaining open to surprise.

Anyone know how physically large the bike is relative to, say, the Honda? Can't tell from pictures. It looks low. Any info on what software will be on it for the wild card? I keep thinking of everyone being on Championship/Integrated software and electronics as being a comparative boon to Suzuki (and bane to Honda). Riders have consistently criticized the Mitsubishi/Suzuki electronics in my memory. I imagine the software development guys there that lost their old MotoGP project were relieved to go make cell phone apps or whatnot instead.

Looks of the bike? Jelly bean styling ugly but perhaps aero slippery. Horrible livery. Just like GSX-R, and fitting w their history. Only good livery came of help from Troy Lee (do I have that right?) w the last Rizla and light blue. Between Suzuki and Kawasaki it always seems a competition for 2nd ugliest. No surpruse for me there.

As a Suzuki fan, Can't wait for the next season. Main rival of Suzuki next year is Aprilia and hope the bike is getting close the Desmo in the second half of the season.

I'm so exited :)

12th
I see the Suzuki getting into 12th...middle of the now 4 thick Prod Honda cup. Dry race, barring unusual circumstances, a top ten would be a win.

Betcha a jelly bean!
;)

Haven't been following the Suzuki returns saga too closely, so does she Bang or Scream?

I would assume w/ bore restriction only a Big Bang would make sense in an I-4, but then again, what the hell do it know?!

Oh Krka...
"does she Bang or Scream?"
Uhhhm - is everyone just going to leave that one hanging out there?
DePuniet and his girlfriend perhaps?
Hopkins and his ex wife/model?
The Michelin Man providing a good feeling and a nice rear, but staying a bit soft to tell the difference?
Ask Colin!
;)

... it was only hanging out there for 13 minutes.

And the ladies you mention I'm sure can do both...

The Suzuki on the other hand can only do one!