Suzuki has told Crash.net
that legendary race engineer and team manager Erv Kanemoto will not be working for the factory MotoGP team next season.
Kanemoto, who has prepared machines that have won 64 grands prix and seven world championships, had been operating as a 'technical consultant' at Suzuki in 2004 – and was credited with helping move the GSV-R project forward.
"Erv will no longer be working with Suzuki's MotoGP team," a team spokesman told Crash.net
. "His efforts in the last year have been instrumental in moving the performance of the GSV-R forward and Suzuki is grateful for his assistance.
"A team structure is being put in place by new manager Paul Denning that will strengthen the team's technical abilities on all levels."
Kanemoto has been tipped to team up with former rider Max Biaggi in a Jerry Burgess type role at the Repsol Honda team for 2005.
Biaggi rode 250cc Hondas for Kanemoto Racing in 1993 and 1997 (when he won his fourth quarter-litre world title), then made his headline grabbing 500cc debut with the American's team in 1998.
Rumours of a Kanemoto/Biaggi reunion first surfaced after the August MotoGP summer break – but were in the form of a story linking Biaggi to a Suzuki ride next season.
Biaggi publicly dismissed such talk as "silly gossip dreamed up on the beach", but it seems that - with Kanemoto having left Suzuki - Max could well link up with his former team manager in 2005, at the factory Honda outfit.
Meanwhile, one part of Suzuki's MotoGP effort that won't be changing for next year is the use of a V4 engine configuration. With progress made on chassis and tyres this season, the GSV-R's lack of top speed is seen as its greatest weakness – and Suzuki is 'investing heavily' to solve the problem.
"The V4 configuration is being retained for 2005 and Suzuki remains confident in its potential," said the spokesman. "The engine has exceptional strengths that assist with driveability and use of power.
"The immediate challenge is to increase top-end horsepower and the Factory is investing heavily to achieve this during the winter months - this programme is already well underway," he added.
Kenny Roberts Jr and John Hopkins
will remain with Team Suzuki for the 2005 MotoGP season.