Suzuki to participate in Sepang winter tests in 2014

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Suzuki will ramp up its preparations for a 2015 MotoGP return by attending the first two major winter test sessions ahead of next season in Sepang.

The Japanese factory will kick off an intensive 2014 testing schedule at the Malaysian venue on February 4 and return to the second three-day Sepang session, which commences on February 26.

Suzuki’s commitment to pitching its new 1000cc contender against the likes of Honda, Yamaha and Ducati is to ensure the GSV-R 800cc replacement is immediately competitive when thrust into competition in 18 months time.

Suzuki had originally planned to end its self-imposed exile in 2014. But it was back in June that the Japanese factory dropped a bombshell by suspending its return until the 2015 campaign.

Valentino Rossi’s former factory Yamaha boss, Davide Brivio, who is at the forefront of Suzuki’s MotoGP return, revealed more details of the testing plans in Japan last week and he told MCN: “We are committed to doing the two Sepang tests early next year and then we are planning to do several tests after the races on Monday like we have done this season. On one side you really understand the level when you are racing and racing is the best test you can do.

But we decided to delay for one year to stay as close as possible to the races. This project is to try and maintain a very high level without racing, so you have to guess where you are and that’s why it is important to go to Sepang because everybody will be testing in their 2014 configuration. We can understand to get some information about our level and then have another year to develop. It is better to find out the level in February rather than in August.”

Suzuki was due back on track for a three-day test at Sugo this week, but Brivio revealed the current test bike is still not running the full configuration it will be required to do so in 2015.

The current test mule is still running a 21-litre fuel tank and it will need to run 20 litres with fuel consumption a key area for Suzuki’s technical staff to get a handle on as soon as possible.

And the bike is not yet using the controlled Magneti Marelli electronics hardware that is compulsory for all bikes from 2014 onwards.

Suzuki’s bike is still using the Mitsubishi software and hardware but Brivio said: “They are working on this in Japan and by hopefully by the first Sepang test we will have Magneti Marelli on the bike.”

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt