13 July 2015
MotoGP Germany: Suzuki struggles, eager for test, seamless ‘soon’
"The seamless gearbox is probably one of the most effective solutions and I hope we will be able to introduce it pretty soon"
Suzuki expected the Sachsenring to be one of their better MotoGP events, due to an emphasis on cornering and lack of top speed at the shortest circuit on the calendar.
Instead it was "one of the weekends where we struggled the most", Aleix Espargaro narrowly beating rookie team-mate Maverick Vinales to cross the line in tenth place, 37-seconds from victory.
“This has been a hard weekend for us,” confirmed project leader Satoru Terada. “Espargaro did not have a good feeling on front, especially in slow corners and Viñales couldn't find effective rear-grip and acceleration. We thought that this circuit would have been suitable for us and on the contrary this is probably one of the weekends where we struggled most.”
Suzuki is the only MotoGP manufacturer without a seamless-shift gearbox, a tag Terada hopes will soon be gone.
“Of course we know that acceleration is one of our weaknesses and our development team is working to find a solution, the seamless gearbox is probably one of the most effective solutions and I hope we will be able to introduce it pretty soon,” he said. “This will not only improve the pure performance on lap-time but also give more confidence to the riders.”
Suzuki will now join Honda and Ducati in a private test at Misano this week, an outing which will have even greater importance following the German GP woes.
“It's really, really important to test there now because the feeling I have is a complete disaster in the tight corners,” said Espargaro. “In the fast corners where you brake hard and touch the throttle immediately, the balance of the bike is great. The traction I had was better than Maverick for example.
“But in the really tight corners Maverick was able to carry a lot more speed than me. I was not able to turn and I lost the front a lot of times. I was really, really slow but even like this I was taking a lot of risk.
“Misano is similar to this track, really tight, especially the first and second split. So it's going to be a good place to test completely different settings, and try to forget this shit weekend.
“We have a couple of ideas with Tom [crew chief] to try and I hope we can find a better compromise “
Reflecting on his close battle with Vinales, whom Espargaro beat by just 0.021s, the older Spaniard stated:
“On the last lap I made a mistake in Turn 12. Maverick overtook me. I braked really hard and late in the last corner, he was a little bit wide so I took the inside. The classic Sachsenring move. Finally at least I was top ten.
“It's also important to finish in front of my team-mate because he has the same weapons. He's a rookie but really talented and to finish the first part of the season always in front of him is important, but we both finished very far from the top so for me it was the worst race of the year.”
Vinales enjoyed the fight and was satisfied to be so close to his experienced team-mate.
“Well at the end I really enjoyed fighting with Aleix,” he said. “I'm proud to be so close to him because he is my point of reference as he has the same machine and a lot more experience and even though I would have preferred to be ahead of him, at the end of the day the real thing is that we both would like to be fighting with other riders at the top rather than with each other.
“In the race I felt the very same problems I've encountered the whole weekend; a bad feeling with the rear and a lack in acceleration due to a lot of spin. This was a problem at such a tight circuit as Sachsenring as it has so many slow corners and we definitely need to improve on this. I'm positive for the test we will do in the week and I trust my engineers can find some solutions to develop the bike still further so we can be more competitive after the summer break."
In terms of Suzuki's Misano test schedule, Terada explained: “We will try some new ideas in the chassis department but mainly look for some more effective set-ups, as the track is pretty similar to this one; so therefore we will try to capitalise on the experience we got here.”
Halfway through its comeback season and Suzuki's riders are tenth (Vinales) and twelfth (Esgararo) in the championship standings. The highlight so far has been qualifying one-two on the grid in Catalunya, where Vinales took the GSX-RR's best result of sixth.
Suzuki was racing in a special retro GSX-R livery, which it will also use after the summer break at Indianapolis.
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