5 November 2014
Suzuki’s new MotoGP ‘adventure’ starts now
“It is the end of our preparation and I'm excited. This is where the new adventure really starts” - Davide Brivio.
Suzuki will start its first MotoGP race since 2011 at Valencia this weekend.
The wild-card entry, for test rider Randy de Puniet, will act as a prologue to the factory's full-time return in 2015.
de Puniet stepped back from racing this season to focus on development of the new GSX-RR, which will be handed to next year's riders - Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Vinales - at Monday's post-race test.
“This is a big moment for us because we have been testing for so long,” said team manager Davide Brivio, who previously guided Yamaha to multi-title success in MotoGP. “We have been waiting for this. It is only a wild-card appearance and it is the last race of the year but I'm happy to be going to Valencia and I think it is a reward for Randy for the big job he has done on this project.
“It is the end of our preparation and I'm excited,” continued the Italian. “This is where the new adventure really starts. I'm aware we have a big job to do, and during the weekend we will take a lot of notes for the work we need to do through the winter. This is our first comparison with our competitors and you can only ever really see where you are through a race situation so it's an important meeting.”
Suzuki won six riders' world championships from 1976 to 2000, with renowned winners such as Barry Sheene, Marco Lucchinelli, Franco Uncini, Kevin Schwantz and Kenny Roberts Jnr in the saddle of its formidable two-stroke technology.
However Suzuki was only able to claim one win after the start of the MotoGP four-stroke era in 2002, with its most recent podium in 2008. The financial crisis then prompted a 'suspension' of its MotoGP activities at the end of 2011.
“Suzuki has a long racing history and it is exciting to be part of the comeback,” enthused Brivio. “I am aware that the competition are very strong and they have kept racing while Suzuki stepped away for almost three seasons, so we need to catch-up and recover the gap and also learn as much as possible to get to their level. The target is to be in a position to challenge our competitors as soon as we can. Let's start the challenge!”
After two years of testing, de Puniet can't wait to finally race the GSX-RR - before starting a new chapter of his own in 2015, riding for Crescent Suzuki in World Superbike.
“I'm excited. I've missed racing and it feels like a long time,” said the 33-year-old Frenchman. “We were out at Suzuka [the 8-Hour] but it was a different bike. I'm proud to be part of this comeback on the factory bike and I know it will be difficult to judge what result we can get but I want to enjoy the race and give the best that I can.
“I like the track even though it is not easy on a MotoGP bike,” added de Puniet, who rode the Suzuki during a test at Valencia in mid-October. “It is a place where you need good grip and traction and that is something we worked a lot on in the last two tests. We are right at the end of the championship; but we are just 'beginning'. I'm sure Valencia will be positive for us.”
Brivio added that the bike spec will be unchanged for next week's Suzuki debut of Open class star Espargaro and Moto2 race winner Vinales.
“The GSX-RR will be the same for the test as used in the race,” says Brivio. “Randy will hand over the bike and it will be the same spec for Maverick and Aleix. We will then start our winter work and our job for 2015 based on the comments and the feedback from those first laps with those riders.”
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