Was it Suzuki’s announcement that it’s 2001 GSXR-1000 displaces 988cc that rang the bell? Whatever it was, the excitement is building over the 2002 Grand Prix season rule changes allowing 990cc four strokes. As far as we can tell, all of the Japanese manufacturers are in high gear developing four-stroke GP bikes, not just Suzuki (which views it’s street-legal GSXR-1000 as a testbed, of sorts).
Honda reportedly has 30 engineers working on it’s four-stroke GP entry, and has eliminated both the twin-cylinder and six-cylinder options.
Yamaha, meanwhile, may be testing a V-4 configuration – going all-out to provide Noriyuki Haga with the best equipment for the 2002 GP season.
Even Kawasaki, a name long missing from the GP class, is reportedly hard at work on their four-stroke entry.
For street riders, this is only good news. Just as race technology has always trickled down to the street, the innovations developed under the new four-stroke GP rules will result in more exotic street-legal machinery. Suzuki is just the first to make a bow to this new pinnacle of two-wheeled racing with it’s new 988cc flagship. We can’t wait to see what’s coming next.