Suzuki believes the key to a competitive 2010 MotoGP season is not a specific performance gain, but getting the GSV-R to stay near the limit for longer.
For the first time since 2004, Suzuki finished last season without a single MotoGP podium to its credit.
But this was the same team that left the Sepang pre-season test with Loris Capirossi in third place, just 0.219sec behind Casey Stoner and a mere 0.125sec behind eventual world champion Valentino Rossi.
So what happened?
“The bike didn't work elsewhere anywhere near as well as it did here at Sepang in winter testing,” replied Suzuki team manager Paul Denning, speaking exclusively to Crash.net
on the eve of the second 2010 MotoGP test.
“We had inconsistency of performance which meant the bike didn't work at every racetrack and condition. Last season didn't work out anything like as positive as we had hoped, but when the bike did work well it wasn't so far away - Loris was able to run in the top five and challenge the front group of guys at times.”
Denning then identified what needs to change.
“The target is not necessarily to have more horsepower or any particular improvement in one specific area,” he explained. “It is to make the bike more consistent, to work well in all conditions, so that the riders can feel confident and ride to the best of their abilities.”
That being the case, the Englishman was asked if he agreed with the following concept. That, in basic terms, a successful racing machine needs to balance two main attributes:
1. The highest possible maximum performance.
2. The ability to stay as close to that maximum for as long as possible.
“Absolutely. And I think user-friendliness is the key [part] for us,” he replied. “We need to keep an acceptable level of maximum performance, but still have a machine that the riders can use at close to 100 percent for 100 percent of the race distance.”
So what percent of the maximum performance were Capirossi and Chris Vermeulen getting from the GSV-R last year?
“Well it depends. At Mugello, Loris was three seconds off the win and normally that would be enough to stand on the podium. He was probably able to ride at nearly 100 percent during that race and maybe at one or two others,” said Denning.
“I wouldn't like to give a percent [for the other tracks] but when you have to ride around fundamental problems your performance is automatically going to suffer. Overall tyre feedback and contact-patch feel, both at the front and rear, is something we need to improve.