6 March 2015
Suzuki presents 2015 MotoGP racer
Suzuki presents official 2015 MotoGP livery for Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Vinales.
Suzuki officially launched its 2015 MotoGP comeback with the presentation of its new race livery and team name.
The team will feature ECSTAR branding, which is Suzuki's own high-performance engine oil, and be known as 'Team SUZUKI ECSTAR'. The new sponsor is the only significant change from the livery used in testing.
Suzuki is returning to MotoGP after a three-year absence, triggered by the financial crisis.
Open class champion Aleix Espargaro and impressive rookie Maverick Vinales have been chosen to race the new GSX-RR which, unlike the previous Suzuki grand prix machine, has an inline four-cylinder engine.
Despite a lack of horsepower, partly due to earlier engine reliability problems, Espargaro (10th) and Vinales (14th) were 1.2 and 1.5s from the fastest lap time at the end of the two Sepang tests.
Former Yamaha MotoGP team manager Davide Brivio is running the Suzuki team.
Speaking to Crash.net in Malaysia last week, the Italian said: “We consider the engine reliability solved because we have had no issues for the six days here and in this last test we got back to our standard power, standard performance.”
Does that mean the riders had more revs available than at the first test?
“Yes. And still no reliability problems. So that's very encouraging for us. Then we worked on the setting of the bike, especially the chassis to try and make the riders as comfortable as possible.
“Aleix and Maverick both did a good job, trying different things with the tyres and settings. Overall we improved day-by-day, both in our lap time and pace.
“I think this will be the bike specification we start the season with. Probably for the first three races I would say. Now we are working on trying to improve the performance of the engine and we will use those developments as soon as they are ready.”
Asked what would be a realistic target for the opening race in Qatar at the end of this month, Brivio replied: “I think a realistic and reasonable target is to stay in the top eight. Then we will see during the season what happens when we fine-tune and improve our package.
“Aleix and Maverick already enjoy riding this bike a lot. It has good handling, braking and cornering. They are very happy about that. We probably have some weak point in terms of top speed but it looks like the engine has good torque and rideability. Probably this makes the package overall positive. We are also continuing to work on the electronics. We have room for improvement.”
On the human side, Brivio is more than pleased with Suzuki's choice of riders.
“We wanted motivated riders with ambitions. They both really want to achieve good results so they are very keen on working hard with us to improve the bike. We are enjoying very much working with them. They are both nice guys.”
“This project is very, very exciting for me personally because it is like a restart,” Brivio added. “It is very nice to create something from zero, from the beginning. We will try to do the best we can and hopefully get the best possible results.”
The final pre-season test takes place at Losail with the opening race of the new season held at the same circuit on March 29.
Suzuki's most recent MotoGP win was at the wet French Grand Prix in 2007, with Chris Vermeulen. Suzuki's last premier-class title was won by Kenny Roberts Jr in 2000.
The return of Suzuki and Aprilia - alongside Honda, Yamaha and Ducati - means five official manufacturers in MotoGP this season, with KTM set to debut in 2017.
Like Aprilia, Suzuki uses pneumatic-valve technology but does not yet have a seamless shift gearbox.
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