Disappointment! Suzuki’s MotoGP project leader, Satoru Terada, revealed during Monday’s IRTA test at Catalunya that the XRH-1 MotoGP prototype will not be raced in 2014, as formerly stated, but will be postponed for a year to the 2015 season.
Powered by a 1000cc inline-Four, the XRH-1 previously appeared in spy photos. At the IRTA test, rider Randy de Puniet completed 73 laps (214 miles), achieving in the process a very creditable best lap of 1:42.676, which was only 0.768 seconds slower than the best lap of the session set by Jorge Lorenzo on a factory Yamaha. Repsol Honda was not present at the test, having elected to test at Motorland Aragon.
Speculation attempting to explain the one-year delay centers on two points. The first is that Suzuki has developed its own control software with Mitsubishi but will be required by rule to implement that software on a Dorna-distributed spec Marelli ECU. “We are still developing our own software,” said Terada, implying that it is not yet mature. “In the autumn, we hope to use the Marelli system.”
The second point is that, at present, if Suzuki were to enter MotoGP in 2014, it would have to be under the banner of an existing team. As Dorna is known for “rules-making by press release,” Suzuki may have chosen to do the same, withholding its bike in hope that Dorna makes various accommodations.
The bike is visually very close to that seen in the most recent spy photos. It has a single megaphone on the right, a bottom-braced swingarm, clutch mounted very high on the right, indicating a length-saving vertically-stacked gearbox, and the fairing with four large exit slots for hot air from water and oil coolers. The fairing, originally in plain black carbon fabric, is now painted in Suzuki colors with de Puniet’s initials, RdP, added.
Jorge Lorenzo – 1:41.904
Nicky Hayden – 1:41.953
Stefan Bradl – 1:42.227
Andrea Dovizioso – 1:42.417
Cal Crutchlow – 1:42.462
Valentino Rossi – 1:42.513
Aleix Espargaro – 1:42.537
Randy De Puniet – 1:42.676
Andrea Ianonne – 1:42.697
Bradley Smith – 1:43.180
That’s a good beginning. It will be interesting to see how the numbers look after the two-day test at Motorland Aragon. Supposedly, all the major players will be present.
Bear in mind that in these tests, we have no way of knowing what engine maps are in use. Was Lorenzo testing with the fuel-economy system in place for finishing races on 21 liters of fuel? Was the Suzuki tested on that same basis? Because we can’t know, we can’t compare performance meaningfully.
First spied in May 2012. Read and view photos from Kevin Cameron’s original story:
Spied! 2014 Suzuki MotoGP Prototype!
And again in May 2013. Read Kevin’s follow-up and view the photos:
2014 Suzuki MotoGP Prototypes Spied Again!