MotoGP »

Suzuki couldn't wait for 2008...

By Peter McLaren

The 2007 MotoGP season was still underway when Suzuki gave a prototype version of the 2008 GSV-R its race debut, at the hands of test rider Nobuatsu Aoki in last month's Malaysian Grand Prix - and by the time the team returned to Sepang for testing last week the '08 was already around half a second quicker than this year's model.

"We started the test on the '07 and then took the settings from that over to the '08 and it worked really well," Chris Vermeulen told at Sepang. "Loris [Capirossi] said the same. We have a new chassis that makes the bike easier to turn at various lean angles - something both John [Hopkins] and I had asked for. We will get the full version of the new engine later. Aoki has been testing it and is not quite happy with it yet. We're really lucky to have someone of Nobu's experience; it really speeds up the whole development process."

"The engine is similar to the '07 at the moment and there is a new engine coming in January, but the engine performance in this hybrid model is already better than in the '07 bike," team manager Paul Denning confirmed to "Acceleration, top speed and aerodynamics are all improved on the '08. Turning and general handling is also a little bit better and it generally seems a little more versatile.

"Chris made a 15-lap run, with the track at over 55 degrees, and kept every lap in the 2min 2secs [Suzuki's best race lap was a 2mins 3secs]. Based on our race result here [seventh and eighth with Vermeulen and Hopkins] the new bike is probably half a second a lap quicker."

Suzuki used the same 'early start' tactic to great effect with the 2007 bike - which Vermeulen took to a first ever grand prix victory, in the rain at Le Mans, while Hopkins claimed his first four podiums and fourth in the final world championship standings.

"It's really important to get the new bike out as early as possible," confirmed Vermeulen. "We did the same last year and it turned out to be Suzuki's best ever year of four-stroke MotoGP racing."

Denning added that the '08's early start was a refection of Suzuki's commitment to its grand prix project.

"Suzuki's factory development department has essentially got it together now," said the Briton. "They're working in a very progressive way and it's great not to have to wait until the end of January for the new bike and then discover that you need to take another direction with it - then it's too late.

"We've done two days at Valencia, another three days here at Sepang, and now we'll go and do another two days at Phillip Island. By the end of Phillip Island we should really have some very clear direction, which Suzuki can then use to develop more parts in time for the January test here."

With Hopkins 'turning green', Vermeulen has been joined by former Ducati hero Loris Capirossi for 2008. The pair had several on-track clashes last season, including a qualifying tangle at Shanghai, but neither are the type to take such incidents personally.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Vermeulen, Sepang MotoGP Test November 2007
Aoki, Vermeulen and Capirossi, Valencia MotoGP Test 2007
Capirossi, Sepang MotoGP Test November 2007
Aegerter dash
Miguel Oliviera - KTM RC16 MotoGP
Morbidelli, Bagnaia, Moto2 race, German MotoGP 2017
Luthi, Moto2 race, German MotoGP 2017
Alex Marquez crash, Moto2 race, German MotoGP 2017
Bagnaia, Moto2 race, German MotoGP 2017
Navarro, Moto2 race, German MotoGP 2017
Manzi, Moto2 race, German MotoGP 2017
Quartararo, Moto2 race, German MotoGP 2017
Corsi, Bagnaia, Moto2 race, German MotoGP 2017
Corsi, Bagnaia, Moto2 race, German MotoGP 2017
Quartararo, Moto2 race, German MotoGP 2017
Schrotter, Moto2 race, German MotoGP 2017
Cortese, Moto2 race, German MotoGP 2017
Cortese, Moto2 race, German MotoGP 2017

Start the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.

© 1999 - 2017 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.