COTA, Termas De Rio Hondo, Jerez, Assen, Aragon are all circuit Yamaha used to be strong on due to there fast corners and flowing nature, but this year Suzuki has achieved podiums at all of these events, so I raised the question has Suzuki mastered Yamaha’s strengths more than Yamaha?
2015 – Suzuki returns to MotoGP after a 4 year absence with a different philosophy.
Back in pre 2011 Suzuki ran a screaming 800cc V4 after a 4 year break they came back with a different philosophy, a in-line 4 big bang 1000cc engine, how well has it worked? Well the results speak for themselves.
In 2015 Suzuki made a return to the premier class of motorcycle racing with Aleix Espargaro and the then rookie Maverick Vinales, Suzuki have come a long way in the 3 and 3 quarter seasons they have been back. It didn’t take long for Suzuki to make some positive headlines when he secured pole position at the Catalan round of the championship, Aleix Espargaro is renowned for the 1 lap hold your breath laps and he found himself constantly in the top 10 in both QP and the races.
In 2016 Maverick Vinales made clear steps forward on board the GSX-RR and was rewarded with his debut MotoGP podium at Le Mans, Vinales was regularly on the bubble of the top 5 all season, however team-mate Aleix Espargaro was struggling to get to grips with the Ecstar Suzuki, come August Maverick Vinales took his maiden win at Silverstone.
Maverick Vinales took his maiden win at Silverstone in 2016 Suzuki’s first since Chris Vermeulen at Le Mans in 2007 and Suzuki’s first since returning to the class in 2015.
In 2017 Suzuki lost there concessions and consequently the results started to drop in the second half of the season, this meant Suzuki would regain the concessions in 2018, 2017 was the start of the Yamaha fall, although they started the season strongly with Maverick Vinales winning 3 of the first 5 races, and then Valentino Rossi taking the win in Assen, but since then it’s been a humbling experience for the young Spaniard and the veteran Italian. Mainly
Valentino Rossi suffered a break down in FP1 at the Austrian Grand Prix
We are now in October 2018 Yamaha’s last win? Sunday, June 25, 2017 that is nearly 18 months since Yamaha sprayed the champagne on the top step, Meanwhile Suzuki although not winning since Vinales at Silverstone 2016 have shown some real promising results beating Yamaha at there own trademark tracks, mainly Assen, Termas De Rio Hondo and Jerez.
Alex Rins and Valentino Rossi in FP3 at Misano
Anyone would be silly to count out Yamaha going into 2019, last weekends race in Buriram proved to be a “step forward” however this could well have been down to Michelin bringing the harder carcass to deal with the extreme temperatures in Thailand, they will not bring the hard carcass tyre to any of the remaining races in 2018 which could pose as a problem for the once dominant outfit.
Maverick Vinales suffered a heavy crash during this years Czech Grand Prix
Suzuki however seem to be able to deal with the softer carcass far better than the Yamaha has this year, so I go back to my original question, has Suzuki mastered Yamaha’s strengths? My personal opinion is only when the conditions are right for them generally the hotter conditions suit the bike more, but Suzuki’s bad days are worse than Yamaha’s at the moment so I wouldn’t say they have fully mastered the M1’s traits just yet, but lets not forget they are keeping Alex Rins for another 2 seasons and he has shown just how good he is a developing a motorcycle, I personally look forward to seeing what both manufactures bring to the table in 2019.
Featured image credit: motogp.com