Suzuki returns to MotoGP in 2015
It's official: Suzuki to make a comeback to premier motorcycle racing, albeit a year later than expected
On Monday, only a day after Jorge Lorenzo's dominating win at the same venue, was the official MotoGP testing session at the Circuit de Catalunya. One blue bike was garnering all the attention though, and it wasn't Lorenzo's Yamaha. It had the word "Suzuki" emblazoned across the body panels, which meant that after a gap of two years, Suzuki was back in business. The business of premier motorcycle racing.
If you may remember, Suzuki had pulled out of MotoGP in 2011 during times of financial crisis. With just one rider in the shape of Alvaro Bautista, they had not had many encouraging results. The last podium finish for Suzuki was way back in 2008, at Brno. Their last win had come even earlier, in 2007 when Chris Vermeulen rode like a man possessed on a damp Le Mans track. Worse still, the last time Suzuki won the world championship was in 2000.
Okay, enough of the history lesson. Frenchman Randy De Puniet, who currently races for Power Electronics Aspar, a privately-owned team, is the development rider for the new 1000cc bike being readied by Suzuki, and after the testing session, looked quite happy with the way the bike was coming along. de Puniet says it came as close to the fastest lap time of the day as seven tenths of a second, on its very first day at the track.
We expected Suzuki to return to MotoGP at the start of the next season, but with a new control ECU being introduced from next year onwards, Suzuki might as well take a little more time and work on its very own software for the ECU, since it has to compete with the three other manufacturer-run teams: Yamaha, Honda and Ducati. Hence, it will officially make a comeback only in 2015.
What does get us even more excited however, is how Suzuki clearly mentions that the development of the new litre-class bike will also help create a new generation of production bikes. Crazier 'Gixxers' on the way? Make it quick, Suzuki, make it quick.