The track that made the GSX-R

Birth­place of all Suzuki’s GSX-RS isn’t a track, it’s Hell on Earth

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Feature -

If the GSX-R1000 couldn’t beat its ri­vals around Ryuyo, Suzuki would have gone back to the draw­ing board. So what’s so spe­cial about this lethally dan­ger­ous, in­sanely fast and tech­ni­cal track? Only rid­ing it can an­swer that, as MCN Dep Ed Rich New­land dis­cov­ered...

“The fear of the test rider get­ting away is push­ing ev­ery­thing else out of my mind as we take to the track. First, sec­ond, third, and then we’re kink­ing left through what will be a brav­ery-test­ing blind kink at 140mph on our next lap, be­fore we flop hard right, and squirt on the gas again.

“The next un­named left is a lovely sweep­ing arc, well­sur­faced and cam­bered to al­low you to carry your speed through onto the short straight be­fore you flick right, then hard left down to­wards the 70R U-bend. I then exit, and find my­self clat­ter­ing through a mine­field of pot­holes and bro­ken tar­mac – this isn’t a race track, it’s a test track.

“Slow­ing hard into 70R, a nadgery hair­pin taken in 2nd on the GSX-R1000, I re­mem­ber that the tar­mac is dif­fer­ent on the in­side and out­side of the cor­ner, and that it’s de­lib­er­ately low-fric­tion. As I exit 70R there’s noth­ing but the hori­zon to aim at, 2.3km of straight dip­ping over the van­ish­ing point. The speedo makes claims of 300kph as you keep right to miss more bro­ken tar­mac...

“As I buzz the con­trol tower, I lift my head slightly and let the throt­tle go flat, peel­ing into the de­cep­tively blind en­try to 200R, a ter­ri­fy­ing right-han­der taken al­most flat in top while try­ing to dodge the rac­ing line. Keep­ing a full car lane width left of the apex to avoid yet more ter­ri­ble tar­mac, it takes con­scious ef­fort not to be dis­tracted by the lack of run-off – which com­prises a wall of Armco and enor­mous trees that look close enough to touch.

“The never-end­ing arc sud­denly re­lents into a brak­ing zone for 30R, a first- gear right-hand hair­pin that opens on the exit as you short-shift through the box to third, be­fore punch­ing out onto the shorter of two big straights, revving out in third and forth be­fore get­ting to the top of fifth past the ‘pits’, and mo­men­tar­ily grabbing sixth as you kink blind left into an­other lap.”

‘I clat­ter through a mine­field of bro­ken tar­mac – this isn’t a race track’

Ryuyo is a track with de­lib­er­ately slick bends and bro­ken tar­mac

Rich ner­vously awaits his first laps around Suzuki’s Ryuyo test track

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