Ec­star Suzuki

Rid­ers:: Mav­er­ick Viñales and Aleix Es­par­garo

Motorcycle News (UK) - - 2016 Motorgp Silverstone Preview -

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

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