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: