The track that made the GSX-R
Birthplace of all Suzuki’s GSX-RS isn’t a track, it’s Hell on Earth
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