MCN’s Senior Road Tester Michael Neeves is currently testing the new Suzuki GSX-R1000 K9 at the twisty, Almeria circuit in southern Spain. Here are his thoughts after this morning’s first track session.
"Despite the most radical engine redesign in the GSX-R1000's history, this is still undeniably a GSX-R – it has the same evil growl when you blip the throttle and the same riding position (where you sit down low in the bike).
"Character wise it's like an evolution of the K7 model rather than having the spirit of the old, lightweight K5.
"There's masses of power all the way through the rev range and the throttle response is excellent and you're never left wanting for more power even if you take a corner a gear taller than you think you should.
"Ground clearance is very good, the brakes have loads of power and don't fade, and the Big Piston Forks give an odd feeling which I’ll need to get used to during the course of the day.
"These forks offer quite a lot of resistance going into the corner which makes the bike feel too stiff at first. It gives the initial impression that the bike is heavy and slow to steer but I know through speaking to fellow road tester, Adam Child, when he road the ZX-6R, which has the same forks, at it’s launch that the harder you ride the better they feel. So we'll see how that goes throughout the course of the day.
"Overall the K9 is noticeably 2more agile than its predecessor although Suzuki haven’t given it any more power, it doesn’t need it, whether it will be top dog in our forthcoming 1000s test we’ll have to wait and see – Suzuki has high hopes it will topple the new R1 and the mighty FireBlade in 2009. It’s also been built to win the WSB and BSB championships.
"Suzuki has set the price at £9,800. The GSX-R1000 K9 is 5kg lighter and more powerful than the old K7/K8 model. It also has a shorter engine and longer swingarm to help the rear tyre fight for grip, while still retaining the same overall 2045mm length. The wheelbase is down by 10mm to for greater agility.
"With its most radical engine redesign in the GSX-R1000’s history, the motor gets a shorter stroke. This also gives race teams the scope for tuning and raising revs safely. It still has the longest stroke of any of the Japanese 1000s, though, and a long stroke equals grunt.
"Read my full launch report in MCN out on sale on 4 March."
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