Suzuki's leaving MotoGP - so why the Motegi upgrade?

Suzuki’s leaving MotoGP – so why the Motegi upgrade?

Sep 23 2022
By Simon Patterson

With only five races to go until the Suzuki MotoGP project shuts down at the conclusion of the 2022 season, many would perhaps be expecting the team to at this point be cruising through to the end of the season.

But, with the surprise appearance of a set of radical new wings on the rear seat unit of Alex Rins’ GSX-RR during practice for the Japanese Grand Prix, the team has made something of a statement about just how much desire there is to improve the bike right up until the very end of Suzuki’s current stint in MotoGP at the Valencian Grand Prix in November.

The wings’ debut coming just hours after the squad had once again shown its class by first tackling a fire in the MarcVDS Moto2 garage and then chipping in to help the Belgian team rebuild their garage until well into the night, Suppo says that the decision once again shows their desire to go out on a high on track as well as off it.

“Well,” the veteran boss told The Race, “because this proves that the Suzuki MotoGP team and the racing department hasn’t changed attitudes since the news arrived, and this is very positive. This was something planned, of course, before, and they are continuing the basic programme. We still have five races to go so anything we can find to improve the performance and to try to finish this season the best as possible is welcomed.”

And while many might have been left wondering about the possible impact that the curved and horn-like protrusions (an extension of the rear wings first debuted by Ducati earlier this season) might have, Rins said that after fighting to be the first one to try them out, he was immediately impressed by the effect they created.

“Sincerely,” he explained, “what I felt and what the Japanese engineers said to me – well, they didn’t say anything to me because they didn’t want to influence my opinion, but what they told me after – was the same comment. More stability on the rear, on braking, and it seems that the second run compared to the first I was able to brake a little bit later and go into the corner faster.

“It looks like a little bit more rear tyre contact, less shaking. I’m quite impressed, because especially Suzuki don’t make these kinds of things so fast, but they’ve done it quite fast this time.

Alex Rins Suzuki MotoGP Motegi

“It’s quite funny because I found out about them yesterday at the very end of the day about them, and they wanted  [test rider Takuya] Tsuda to try them first. I went running to the Japanese guys and said ‘hey, come on guys, let’s give them to me to try!’ They didn’t want to, so we made a deal that if I was competitive in the first minutes, I could try them. They thought about it but they said OK!”

However, it’s not sure if the new wings will make an appearance in Sunday’s race or not yet.

“I need to complete a back to back run,” Rins explained, “to see if it’s a big difference or not. This GP we won’t be able to do it because there will be rain tomorrow, so only if the info that the engineers has now makes good comments then we will use them.”

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