Our editor Jacob Ward and WSBK reporter Matic Kovacic continue their look at the updates of the MotoGP bikes, following on from their look at Aprilia.
Suzuki have had possibly the most balanced bike of 2018, having gone from the 7-10th places early season to competing at the front towards the end. Here’s why!
One small problem we have with doing a piece like this, is that the Hammamatsu concern are being extremely closeted about what they’ve done to the bike. We know a lot of the ‘what’, but we have to take an educated guess on the ‘why’. We will start with the changes we CAN see.
First up, the obvious. The wings have changed hugely as you can see, going from the ‘moustache’ to the far more aesthetically pleasing wings they currently run. They must provide some benefits to downforce over the front wheels, helping feel on the front end however minuscule that may be as both Rins and Iannone run them now.
The other big visual clue to the upgrades is the Akrapovic exhaust, which has gone from a ‘normal’ titanium unit to an utterly beautiful work of art, with no seams and it tapers into the body, which not only provides more aerodynamic benefits which helps top speed, but it points to a big clue that the engine has also received a big bump in power.
This leads us on to the changes you cannot see, and this is where the big gains have been made. From what we understand, there was an update at the start of the season, to rectify the 2017 ‘error’. They ran this until Assen, where they gained a little more to the top end, and finally at Motegi, test rider Guintoli ran the first version of the 2019 engine, which received positive reviews from the Frenchman. The power delivery was reportedly smoother than the 2017 bike, with more power to play with too.
Then we come to the chassis, which has been run in 4(!) iterations over the course of the season, with the latest update incorporating carbon inserts to help stiffen the chassis, without giving away the trade off of adding weight. This was incorporated from Mugello.
All this adds up to a gain of nearly 6 seconds a race. Phillip Island 2017, Rins’ race time was 41’1, in 2018 it was 40’55. This was the difference between an 8th place finish in 2017, and a strong 5th in 2018. The top speed has also increased by a large amount, in Qatar 2017 the top speed was 331 kph, in 2018 in the same race it was 343kph.
2019 should be very exciting, with the classic Suzuki trait of having a sweet chassis remaining, while the very non-Suzuki trait of having the power to rival the bigger factories thrown in the mix. Rins should challenge for wins and Joan Mir will have a fantastic bike to learn on. Stay tuned for more updates!
Featured images credit- http://www.MotoGP.com