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Suzuki starts ECU transition

13 February 2014

Suzuki, returning to MotoGP in 2015, began adapting to the new control ECU hardware during last week's Sepang MotoGP test.

The factory, which withdrew at the end of 2011 due to the financial crisis, had been using Mitsubishi electronics.

For 2014 all MotoGP entries must use control Magneti-Marelli hardware, although the Factory class can continue to programme their own software.

Suzuki team manager Davide Brivio told Crash.net: “To be clear, until last year we had been testing with a Mitsubishi ECU and Mitsubishi software.

“To switch to Magneti-Marelli means we have changed the ECU - the hardware, the computer. Therefore the old software doesn't work and we have to rewrite the software in Magneti-Marelli 'language'.

“So we knew how to control the traction, the braking etc with Mitsubishi but you have to replicate, remake, everything in Magneti-Marelli. You know the concept, but you have to do the job again. This is what we are doing and the full software package is not complete. There are some pieces missing. It is work in progress.

“But when we tested on the first day we saw that the level was already not so bad. Of course Mitsubishi is still better for us in some areas, so maybe we made a little bit of a step down [in performance] while we work for the future.

“These three days have been very important to gather a lot of data for the electronic engineers so they can fix some mistakes and introduce some new things.

“The original plan was to introduce the Magneti-Marelli from the next test and here just to do a kind of shakedown to check a little bit, so we are slightly ahead of our schedule.”

Randy de Puniet - who has stepped back from full time MotoGP race duties to concentrate on development of the new inline four-cylinder Suzuki - posted the 17th fastest lap out of the 27 riders, 2.953s from Honda's Marc Marquez.

One of the main talking points of the Sepang test was the performance of Open class rider Aleix Espargaro, who set the fourth quickest lap time, while Ducati is yet to decide if it will switch its riders from Factory to Open class.

Brivio confirmed that Suzuki is still working towards a Factory class entry.

“At this moment there is no change in policy. So the idea of Suzuki is to develop technology and its own software. The bike now is running to the 2014 Factory class rules,” he said.

de Puniet and Suzuki have an increased testing programme relative to last year - with a wild-card race entry possible towards the end of the season.

“We will be back again here for the second Sepang test. Then we will go to Austin and Argentina for post-race tests. Then some tests in Europe, probably Mugello, Barcelona, Misano, Aragon,” said Brivio of the 2014 test plans.

“There is no decision on a wild-card yet, but there are some possibilities. Maybe Motegi or Valencia. It would be towards the end of the year, after the testing programme, so it could be a kind of final check.”

The second Sepang test takes place from February 26-28.


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