Suzuki will give Chris Vermeulen and new recruit Loris Capirossi a debut on the new 2008 factory GSV-R next week in Valencia confident the new 800 can continue the Japanese factory’s resurgence.
Suzuki stole a march on their MotoGP rivals in Malaysia last month when wild card Nobuatsu Aoki raced a prototype version of the 2008 GSV-R machine.
The new machine featured all-new bodywork and chassis, and a brutally loud exposed under seat exhaust system, although Nobuatsu Aoki didn’t race a new engine designed for more top speed and horsepower which is still not fully developed.
Japanese rider Nobuatsu Aoki has tested the new motor in Japan, but alarmingly so far results had not been as successful as anticipated, with the 2008 engine no more powerful in its current guise than this year’s V4 motor.
“There is no big step with the engine yet. We are looking for top power to close the gap on Ducati but we still have to find some more power while not losing drivability,” Aoki told MCN.
“My top speed in Sepang was quite impressive. I was quite a lot faster than John (Hopkins) and Chris (Vermeulen) on the straight so the new bodywork is a big step, because I was still using the same engine as them.”
One of the priorities of Nobuatsu Aoki’s test mule was to solve Suzuki’s old problem of turning at part lean angle.
Aoki said the new chassis was a step in the right direction and added: “There is different weight distribution at the front and back and it is helped with the handling problem in the long and fast corners.
“It can still be improved, but at medium lean angle I can turn the bike better and its better from entry to the exit.”
Factory Suzuki team boss Paul Denning said the appearance of the 2008 prototype in race trim in Sepang highlighted Suzuki’s commitment to build on a successful season that saw Chris Vermuelen claim Suzuki’s first four-stroke victory in Le Mans.
“The bike has already been tested for three months in Japan and racing in Sepang meant we are getting a direction early, so if there are any fundamental issues then we have got time to react,” said Denning, who highlighted the performance targets Suzuki engineers were trying to achieve for Chris Vermeulen and new team-mate Loris Capirossi next season.
“The motor improvements haven’t come yet but the bike is repackaged to basically improve the aerodynamics and turning performance in terms of lightness and handling and trying to improve rear grip.
“There’s quite a lot of repackaging on the chassis to get more mass centralisation to make change of direction easier. Obviously we still want to retain the good points of our current bike, which is overall stability and braking performance.
“With the new chassis we are looking to improve all aspects of handling performance but trying to achieve better turning with less lean angle.”
As for targets to bring the engine closer to the phenomenal performance of Ducati’s GP7, Paul Denning added: “We need more power, better drivability and more top speed.
“It’s still the same Vee angle and V4 and the basic parameters of the motor will be similar with quite a few detailed improvements.”