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Suzuki Technical Adviser Warren Willing sheds light on the development of the 4 stroke GSV-R racer

Suzuki Technical Adviser Warren Willing sheds light on the development of the 4 stroke GSV-R racer

Suzuki Technical Adviser Warren Willing sheds light on the development of the 4 stroke GSV-R racer

After a year of frustration for Warren Willing in 2001, the Technical Adviser for Team Telefonica Movistar Suzuki spoke to about his feelings on the Japanese factory´s new 4 stroke MotoGP project and the development of the GSV-R racer since its surprisingly premature unveiling as the XREO prototype back in December.

´We heard about the decision to bring the 4 stroke project forward only about a week before the press release was made so it was unexpected for us too,´ explained the candid Australian. ´It was a relief partly because it was a step the team had been requesting for some time, but mainly from the point of view that any development work was now heading towards the future, whereas any development work that continued on the 2 stroke was down a dead end.´

The 4 stroke machine seems to have come a long way since its first laps at Suzuki headquarters in Japan, but Willing insists that it is still very much a development bike. ´There hasn´t been a great deal of progress because the testing schedule we have had up to now has been a case of analysing the initial base. We have not had time just yet to react to the things that we have found in the first few tests, but work is being carried out on the basis of our feedback and there are plenty of improvements to come.´

´I don´t think we´ll see the bike at its maximum competitive level this season but you´ve got to remember that there is a year of development to take place here that would normally be taking place behind closed doors in Japan,´ he continued. ´All the basic items will be run in throughout the 2002 season and we hope to have a competitive package by 2003.´

With the 4 stroke machines of Valentino Rossi and Tohru Ukawa already setting the pace in preseason tests, Willing believes that the key to the 2002 MotoGP title now lies in tyre development. ´Ultimately there was never any doubt that the 4 strokes would end up on top. They are always going to have infinitely more power, the only question mark is around whether the tyre development can match that of the machines. The key to a quick 4 stroke is no different to the key to a quick 2 stroke. It´s about having the throttle response and power delivery correct to take full advantage of whatever traction you have.´

´The extra weight of a 4 stroke is detrimental to tyre life,´ he explains. ´When the motorcycle is leaned over you have the same sized contact patch on the road with the current 500s and even the 250s - there´s not a great deal of difference. It´s the ratio of weight to the contact patch size which determines the cornering G-force. You have basically the same tyre carrying all the extra weight, which is why a 250cc goes through a corner faster than a 500cc and why a 500cc will go through a corner faster than a 1000cc. We have yet to see who will develop the tyres to match these bikes quickest but at the moment I think we´ve all got a fair bit of work to do.´

MotoGP, 2002

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