25 November 2014
Suzuki on MotoGP: It was time to come back
“We couldn't delay forever. You come back and play with the current rules and get prepared for the future” - Suzuki on 2015 MotoGP return.
Suzuki team boss Davide Brivio admitted he and factory bosses couldn't hold off their MotoGP return any longer, amid questions on why the firm chose 2015 to make its grand prix return.
The Japanese marque is returning to MotoGP just one year before major technical changes see Bridgestone replaced by Michelin as exclusive tyre supplier, plus the introduction of a standard ECU system.
When asked at the Valencia post-season test why Suzuki was returning in 2015, when a year later it would need to alter the characteristics of its bike due to the rule changes, Brivio said:
“If you remember our plan was [originally] to come back in 2014. Then we delay one more year and we couldn't delay forever. You come back and play with the current rules and with everyone involved you get prepared for the future.”
Project leader Satoru Terada added: “This changing [of rules for 2016] comes from outside. Our company decision to come back to MotoGP is a different thing. The company thinking is that it is the time to come back.”
Suzuki's new GSX-RR, which will be raced by Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Viñales, possesses an inline four-cylinder engine configuration and Brivio revealed that the machine's characteristics, name and colours are related to bringing their racing efforts closer to the production line.
“If you see now we have the GSX-R painted with the same livery as the MotoGP bike,” said the Italian. “Also there are some other production models with the same blue colours. The link between MotoGP and production bikes will be more and more [close] in the future. Also the name; it's called the GSX-RR and this is used to generate the link between MotoGP and production bikes.”
Suzuki has been absent from MotoGP for three seasons, having withdrawn due to the financial crisis at the end of 2011.
“The fact that Suzuki has been out and then decided, in a difficult economic situation, to come back shows very clearly how important it is to be in MotoGP,” Brivio declared. “Of course it's also to increase the sales but it's also to involve excitement in the distributors. In the dealers. In the fans. In the employees. This is one effect of MotoGP. At the end of the day we have hope that it sells more motorcycles.”
Terada was also unfazed that the company will run without a title sponsor in 2015.
“Sure for the moment we don't have the title sponsor,” he said. “But the company thinks that this is a good opportunity to promote our Suzuki brand.”
Like competitors Honda and Yamaha, Suzuki is increasingly dependent on the burgeoning motorcycle market in Southeast Asia. Brivio added that the factory is also keen to see more MotoGP involvement in these countries.
“This is one of the clear targets, to do a lot of promotion in those countries. So in reality now places like Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia - these kinds of countries is where all manufacturers are doing big business. We are always request to do promotion there, to go there as much as possible. We really need to have races there.
“This is much more important from [a] commercial point of view. I don't have the exact numbers but probably that business is what makes profits [for] all manufacturers. It's a common problem, not only Suzuki. For everybody that area is the most important and we request to do as much as possible in those countries.”
Suzuki began its final 2014 test at Jerez on Monday. They will be joined in Spain by Aprilia, Ducati and Forward Yamaha while Honda and Jack Miller will test at Sepang, marking the last MotoGP track activity before the winter test ban begins on December 1.
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