– Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Can Smets Turn the Suzuki RM-Z450 Into a Winner?

Joel Smets might be the single, best rider to help a factory develop a new 450cc, four-stroke motocross machine. The five-time World Motocross champion has been through this before . . . successfully. He knows what he needs from a four-stroke MX bike to get around the track quickly, and win.

Suzuki will have the services of Smets during its development of the RM-Z450 machine next year. Suzuki is no stranger to four-stroke power, both for the road and for the dirt. The new RM-Z250, jointly developed with Kawasaki, for instance, is competitive in its first production year.

The RM-Z450 is purely a Suzuki (no Kawasaki involvement). With an aluminum beam frame, it is a new direction for Suzuki in the motocross world, and will require careful development. Smets is the right rider for Suzuki in this task.

Can the Suzuki win in its first year? We wouldn’t be surprised if Smets wins races in 2004 aboard the RM-Z450 prototype, but he isn’t our favorite for the championship on the untested machine.

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