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MotoGP Valencia: 'Unexpected problems' spoil Suzuki return

"We knew it would not be an easy weekend but I did not expect to run into these problems" - de Puniet.
Suzuki's first MotoGP race since 2011 came to an early end when Randy de Puniet retired from 19th place with technical problems on the new GSX-RR.

Development rider de Puniet was giving the new inline four-cylinder machine its official debut, prior to handing over to 2015 signings Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Vinales for the post-race test.

But despite two years of testing, the Valencia weekend exposed both reliability problems and a significant lack of top speed.

A massive engine failure on Friday was followed by a less dramatic breakdown on Saturday, then an early exit on lap 12 of the 30-lap grand prix due to a gearshift issue. The other concern is top speed, the GSX-RR lacking 20km/h to the quickest machines despite - like Ducati - being allowed to race with the Open class technical concessions.

“We knew it would not be an easy weekend but I did not expect to run into these problems. Everyone in the team tried their best but it was not sufficient to finish as I struggled with a gearbox-shifting problem,” de Puniet said. “It is a shame because in these race conditions I might have been able to push for a good position.”

Team manager Davide Brivio added that the technical issues had not occurred before.

“We faced some technical issues this weekend, some of which we have not encountered during the testing campaign. From this point of view it was a good decision to race here and learn more for our job over the winter,” said the Italian.

“In terms of performance - and with everything considered - things are not so bad. We know we have to improve the engine and electronics and we are already working [on this]. Now we can add the information from this weekend.

“Despite everything, it was good to race at Valencia and make these discoveries now. We will test this week. We won't find big solutions in the space of one day so we will have to try and manage. The new riders want to test as soon as possible and get a feeling for the bike so we will do what we can to give them the best conditions and then see how the test will progress.”

de Puniet, who stepped back from racing to concentrated on Suzuki development work this season, will race in WSBK for Crescent Suzuki in 2015.

“Now it is time for me to switch to Superbike. I think I did a good job for Suzuki during the year and I'm interested to see and hear the feedback of the new riders now.”

Tagged as: Suzuki , Puniet

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November 10, 2014 9:34 AM
Last Edited 707 days ago

A lot of folk on this site had been predicting that the Suzuki would be instantly competitive but this weekend has proved to offer a reality check. The last time Suzuki competed in GP's (2011), their GSV-R was down on horsepower and notably poor on acceleration out of corners. In the meantime, Honda, Yamaha & Ducati have been racing 4 or 6 bikes every season, accumulating a mass of data, enabling them to develop their machines quickly. So why would people expect Suzuki to have suddenly developed something fantastic when they have been away from racing for a number of years? Simply isn't going to happen. Rather, they are starting way behind the competition and it is likely to prove very hard to catch up with the development potential of only a 2-man team. Where Suzuki is now is the level of an unreliable customer Honda.

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