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Suzuki Working Its Way Back Onto MotoGP Grid

The bike pictured above is Alvaro Bautista’s Rizla Suzuki, the 800 cc machine he campaigned in 2011 at the end of the 800 cc era. At that time, Suzuki chose not to invest in the development of a 1,000 cc prototype, and shut down its MotoGP efforts . . . promising to return for the 2014 season.

Suzuki is now hard at work to keep that promise. Privately testing a 1,000 cc bike, Japanese test rider Nobuatsu Aoki, indicates the machine has already gone through one generational change in development. Nobu and another test rider (likely Randy DePuniet, currently aboard a CRT Aprilia), will be at the mid-season test this year that follows the Catalunya round in June. Of course, rule changes are expected in MotoGP designed to reduce costs for the participating teams, and this may be one enticement bringing Suzuki back to the grid.

47 Comments

  1. Dave says:

    “(Honda’s trick tranny adds nearly $800,000 to the cost of a leased RC213V and has to be serviced every race by Honda personnel).” – From Cycle World

    As long as craziness like the above continues in MotoGP it won’t matter what Suzuki or BMW do. Everything outside of a Honda or Yamaha might as well be a Superbike, which is where any smart moto company’s racing budget is better invested.

  2. Chris says:

    This is old news. Suzuki has been testing a bike with a cross-plane crank for a couple of years now.

  3. RBen says:

    I believe it would be GREAT if Suzuki and it would even be cooler if BMW jumped in to MotoGP.

  4. Norm G. says:

    guys, for the record, spies isn’t going to touch the steaming pile that is a grandprix suzuki with a 10ft spanner. he already knows the bike is the original career killer… even before the ducati.

    • Dave says:

      Bautista did at least as well on it as he has since getting on the Gresini Honda.

    • Hefner says:

      I think it’s wise to expect the new Suzuki to be off the pace (predictable?), but to be already calling it a steaming pile is a little premature. Suzuki and Kawasaki were both uncompetitive in the MotoGP era, although both were finally showing signs of closing the gap in their respective last seasons, thus proving that they were finally starting to get it. And while Kawi seems to have pulled the plug completely, Suzuki has kept going with development of the new machine.

      As far as career killers, let’s face it: Anything other than a Honda or a Yamaha has been a career killer (although Honda effectively killed Barros & Biaggi). Plus, I think Cagiva earned that title a little before Suzuki!

      • Norm G. says:

        re: “but to be already calling it a steaming pile is a little premature.”

        would it help if i told you i also called it a steaming pile in ’01, in ’03, in ’06, in ’09, and ’11…?

        re: “thus proving that they were finally starting to get it.”

        hopkins might say “they lost it”… as in his amputated finger.

        re: “let’s face it: Anything other than a Honda or a Yamaha has been a career killer (although Honda effectively killed Barros & Biaggi). Plus, I think Cagiva earned that title a little before Suzuki!”

        nope, none of those brands have cost someone a digit in the past decade. suzuki’s holding firm at top o’ the food chain.

        • Norm G. says:

          or should i say more than a tip as a reward for services rendered.

          • Hefner says:

            Ducati took Bayliss’ finger, but that wasn’t a GP bike.

            I still think it’s unfair to dismiss the Suzuki though… Maybe that’s just blind optimism on my part, as I think the series desperately needs another competitive manufacturer.

          • Norm G. says:

            re: “Maybe that’s just blind optimism on my part”

            “blind optimism” on parts too numerous to count, but finally someone on the net suffering from the condition has the insight to call it what it is (handclap). :) that my friend puts you one step above everyone else, and one step closer to the opinions of ezpelata and i.

          • Kris says:

            “or should i say more than a tip as a reward for services rendered.”
            Hahaha
            Hoppa actually reckoned the Suzi had good pace but that was before he losed his digit…..

    • Kris says:

      I’ll bet the Suzi will be faster in year 2 than the privateer Ducs.

  5. Roger Gussiaas says:

    Need the Japaneese big four back racing against each other along with as many European brands as possible.

  6. Kris says:

    Good to hear Suzi is coming back- hopefully BMW will in soon too.
    Forget Stoner- too highly strung…..and a year out will slow him down heaps. Need to find someone new, and I reckon Spies would be a good choice.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “Good to hear Suzi is coming back…”

      …to test.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “hopefully BMW will…”

      …continue their focus and upward progression in WSBK. after all they’ve accomplished, it’d be a shame for them to get sidetracked by the “circle jerk” that is grandprix.

  7. Buckwheat says:

    Maybe Suzuki will fill the void if Ducati pulls up its GP stakes.

  8. chris says:

    I know of one rider who doesnt have a contract for the 14 or 15 season, he would be the perfect choice
    none other than Mr Stoner!!!!

  9. ziggy says:

    Rizla Blues are ok, but nothing says “professional spliff roller” like Rizla Silver.

  10. Norm G. says:

    re: “promising to return for the 2014 season.”

    and do what…?

  11. NJ Bears Fan says:

    If I were Suzuki, I’d choose someone other than Spies. His record in MotoGP has been pretty dismal, especially when you consider the high-quality bike he’s had the last couple of years. And don’t blame Yamaha for all those mishaps, blame his team (headed by HIS chosen guy), no other Yamaha rider had anywhere near the number of ridiculous situations he experienced.

    • Hefner says:

      His results on the Tech 3 Yam, and his first year in the Factory Yam squad could hardly be called “Pretty Dismal”. They may not have been perfect, or even what was expected of him, but he is one of only 5 riders to have won a race in the past 5 Years, he has been on the podium multiple times, at least one fastest lap I can remember, and a pole position to boot. Crutchlow, Bradl and Bautista all fall short of this, and by a wide margin.

      His last year however, is the text-book definition of miserable, but I don’t think you can lay all of that at any one person’s feet. Spies made his own mistakes, as did Jarvis, Houseworth, his mechanics, and ultimately his manufacturer. But keep in mind that his “Team” is comprised of mainly people inserted by Yamaha, only house and woody were his choice. Yes, each can share some blame for some of what happened, but neither were responsible for the blown engine at Indy, or the failed shock linkage/mount at Laguna. And Jarvis kicking sand in his face while he was down? Poor management doesn’t even begin to describe his actions.

  12. Hefner says:

    Spies homecoming? He’s already looking pretty miserable on the Duc, and I don’t know if the promise of a better bike will keep him from leaving (or the promise of better results will keep him from being let go). Maybe this was the plan all along… Take a humble Ducati privateer bike to stay in the series for the year, then jump ship to ‘zuki.

    Anyone remember if his contract is 1 or 2 years?

    • mickey says:

      However long it is, I’ll bet he’s thinking it’s too long right about now

    • Buckwheat says:

      One year. Only Dovi has 2.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “Take a humble Ducati privateer bike to stay in the series for the year, then jump ship to ‘zuki.”

      lol, oh yeah i’m sure that was his plan.

      • bikerrandy says:

        Depends how much $ he is paid to do it. He’s physically hurting right now from race injuries. These pro MC road racers….they think they can bounce back 100% faster than reality.

      • Hefner says:

        Okay, definitely a laughable plan… But so was taking an uncompetitive Ducati ride in GP, instead of a golden seat in BMW’s WSBK squad. When he burned Yamaha, he was headed back to WSBK, end of story (Going back to where I belong). Something changed his mind, and I seriously doubt a satellite Ducati was enough.

        So what’s your theory?

        • Dale says:

          Spies says he realized that if he left MotoGP for WSBK at that time he would always wonder what if (I paraphrase) he’d have given it his best shot in MotoGP?

          He’s already won a World Superbike title.

          I’d be surprised if Ben hasn’t second guessed a move or two…, who hasn’t? Talk about what looks to be difficult objective at this point!

          I don’t know Lin Jarvis but he seems to have been good at what he does for a while now. In Management, the good ones try their best to motivate their employees, usually with success but Sometimes additional information indicates a previous strategy was counterproductive… No one bats 1000 over the long haul.

  13. Tom says:

    As a Suzuki fan I must say hurrah!!

  14. mickey says:

    Cant wait for Suzuki to get back in MotoGp. More participants bodes well for the sport.

    • MGNorge says:

      Which brings up an obvious other brand so notorious for hot bikes on the street and in other types of races, where’s Kawasaki? I’ve always wondered what their thinking is in not at least trying to be a contender in the premier class? They’ve built quite the reputation on the street but remain out of this series?

    • PatrickD says:

      I think that Kawasaki, as well as feeling the financial pinch, saw that production based racing was way more effective in pushing the brand. They are never going to be able to go toe-to-toe with Honda in the top class, but look at how they did in Superbike and Supersport classes all over the world last year. It’s done them no harm. MotoGP is about as relevant to streetbikes as the 500cc bike days, whereas the level of Superbike evolution feeds back to what you and I can buy quite immediately.

      • MGNorge says:

        I think most all racing does that. Production based racing is just that, racing “production” bikes with modifications allowed under the rules in force at that time. Although MotoGP isn’t production based the developments made do filter their way back to production bikes too.
        They all have to pick their fights but it’s too bad that Kawasaki can’t shake a few yen loose and join the party!

  15. HotDog says:

    Like we don’t know who’s waiting in the wings?!!! He went from a contenda to a pretenda and I’ll bet he’s wishing he was back on the Yamadog. The boy’s burned quite a few bridges, maybe Zuki won’t let him back in his crib.

  16. Provologna says:

    I still suspect one of the Japanese big 4 and/or one of the European makers may hit the dust bin in this economic “recovery” (hell hole).

  17. blackcayman says:

    Is there another young Kevin Schwantz type waiting in the wings, ready to reclaim a taste of success for Suzuki??? They’ll either have to take a gamble on a young rider or pay through the nose.

    Hey! at least they have more GP Championships than Kawasaki right…

    • Dale says:

      I could see a not too young Mr Spies sliding back over to Suzuki, if the Ducati thing doesn’t work out… It sometimes seemed like the MotoGP Suzuki was better than their Riders results…

      I would have liked Ben on the Kawasaki(or whatever) in World Superbike too ;-)

    • brian says:

      A young Schwantz type? Hire up Eslick now that he’s back on Suzuki.