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Suzuki still treading the lengthy path of development

Suzuki still treading the lengthy path of development

Suzuki still treading the lengthy path of development

Apparent lean times for Suzuki after their last World Championship two years ago seems to be efficiently covering the vast amount of effort that is going on behind the scenes to get their four-stroke project up to scratch in order to once more win races. The factory team fronted by Kenny Roberts (the champ in 2000) and John Hopkins clocked up virtually a whole week of riding just recently in Spain developing the Mk2 GSV-R 2003 machine. Despite their efforts on what is essentially still a very new direction for the firm, the pair ended up 17th and 13th respectively after the MotoGP test in Catalunya.

Project leader Kunio Arase had this to say about the ongoing work: "We have a lot more power than last year´s engine, but we still need more to become fully competitive. I am confident we can find extra power by improving all areas of the motor, such as internal friction, and by more refinement to the engine management ECU. The engine is now at about 80 percent of its potential. The first target is to improve the power characteristic - to make the throttle response more linear, and to make the bike more rider-friendly and more tyre-friendly."

$$$ "In terms of the new injection system, we are always developing new techniques," continues Mr Arase. "We expect the next step forward for this engine in time for the first race weekend at Suzuka. In handling terms, the stability under braking is much improved from last year. The slipper clutch system is similar to that used in 2002, with much more refined electronic controls, so that reduction of engine braking is also improved."

Team manager Garry Taylor added: "Of course it´s frustrating for the riders to watch the competitors going faster. We´re starting at the bottom again, with a new bike in January, and this week a second version of the new engine. But the potential is all there, our motivation is still high, and our intention remains the same, to get Suzuki back to the winner's circle again."

There is one more group test, at Suzuka in Japan, before the season proper begins with the Japanese GP at the same circuit on April 6.

MotoGP, 2003

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