Fuel consumption for the new 20-litre fuel tank limit will be one of the biggest challenges facing Suzuki as it develops a new 1000cc factory prototype machine in readiness for a MotoGP return in 2015.
The new bike impressed in back-to-back test sessions in Catalunya and Motorland Aragon last week but the machine Randy de Puniet is currently evaluating will no longer be raced full-time in 2014.
When Suzuki suspended its MotoGP project at the end of 2011, the intention was to return with a two-rider factory effort in ’14.
But ahead of the first European track test of its new 1000cc machine in Barcelona last week, it was announced the return has been delayed until 2015 to allow Suzuki focus on development and testing for another year.
One of the key challenges for Suzuki’s engineering group will be to get maximum performance and reliability while using a 20-litre fuel tank.
For 2014 and beyond, all factory prototype machinery will have to run 20 litres and not the current limit of 21.
Suzuki’s test bike is currently set-up to run 21 litres of fuel and the bike Frenchman de Puniet rode in Spain last week was still fitted with Mitsubishi electronics.
When Suzuki returns in 2015, it will have to use Dorna-supplied Magneti Marelli hardware and combined with the new fuel regulations, test team boss Davide Brivio admitted the two rules would present a complex challenge.
The Italian, who previously managed Valentino Rossi’s factory Yamaha squad, told MCN: “The Magneti Marelli equipment just arrived in the factory and so the electronics department is starting to look at that and understand. The plan is to start running this system in the autumn.
The electronics are still Mitsubishi and it is at a good level. Suzuki has experience of electronic strategies and now the task is to transfer it on this new ECU. We have to make experience because we have no experience with this 1000 and this is not going to be an easy task. The fuel efficiency is a challenge for everybody.
As far as I know some bikes are struggling to arrive at the end of the race with 21 litres, so one less litre will be interesting. Using the Magneti Marelli system and the fuel efficiency I would say are the main jobs to do.”
For more news and reaction on Suzuki’s MotoGP return in 2015, see the June 26 issue of Motor Cycle News.