Riders:: Maverick Viñales and Aleix Espargaro
Suzuki have made the biggest step forward this season, with Viñales scoring the factory’s first podium since it returned to Motogp last year. In the right conditions and at the right racetrack, the inline-four GSX-RR snaps at the heels of the leaders, thanks both to Suzuki’s hard work and the new regulations.
Last year the GSX-RR was 18th quickest on Motogp’s fastest straight at Mugello. This year the bike was seventh quickest. A 15 horsepower boost and a fully seamless gearbox have helped, but so have the unified software and Michelins.
“The unified software compares favourably to the software we used before, so we’ve experienced less of a drop than Honda and Yamaha, which has helped close the gap,” explains Espargaro’s crew chief Tom O’kane.
The GSX-RR may also just be the best-handling bike on the grid and uses Michelin’s front better than the other bikes.
“When I look at Aleix’s data I see that the way he uses the front tyre isn’t much different to the way he used the Bridgestone,” adds O’kane. “At the start of the season the grip balance wasn’t right – the front didn’t have enough and the rear had too much. Now the front is much better and they’ve reduced rear grip, so the balance is better.”
A revised frame has further helped Viñales. “It gives me a little more rear grip and also helps the bike turn better, because the extra rear grip also helps into corners,” he says.
Possibly the best feature of the GSX-RR is its carbon-fibre engine hangers, which allow the team to adjust chassis stiffness in minutes.
“We have used these since we returned to Motogp,” says technical manager Ken Kawauchi. “We have two types which we change during testing, but not so far during a race weekend.”
Sweet-handling GSX-RR has carbon-fibre engine hangers allowing chassis adjustments