Suzuki MotoGP

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Suzuki MotoGP
2017 name Team Suzuki Ecstar MotoGP
Principal Davide Brivio
Rider(s) 29. Italy Andrea Iannone
42. Spain Álex Rins
Motorcycle Suzuki GSX-RR
Tyres Michelin
Riders' Championships 6
1976, 1977 Barry Sheene
1981 Marco Lucchinelli
1982 Franco Uncini
1993 Kevin Schwantz
2000 Kenny Roberts, Jr.

Suzuki MotoGP is the official factory-backed team of Suzuki in the MotoGP World Championship, running under the Team Suzuki Ecstar MotoGP moniker for sponsorship purposes. Suzuki withdrew from competition at the end of the 2011 season.[1] However, in June 2013, Suzuki announced they would end their hiatus and return to MotoGP with a factory team in 2015.[2]

History[edit]

1970s[edit]

In 1971, Grand Prix racer Jack Findlay and his partner Daniele Fontana constructed a racing motorcycle using a Suzuki T series engine with a chassis of their own design.[3] Findlay rode the motorcycle to victory in the 1971 Ulster Grand Prix marking the first victory for a Suzuki motorcycle in the premier 500cc class, as well as the first-ever 500cc class victory for a motorcycle powered by a two stroke engine.[3][4]

Suzuki first entered a works team in the 500cc Grand Prix World Championship in 1974 with riders Barry Sheene and Findlay riding the Suzuki RG500.[5] A second-place finish by Sheene in the opening round was the best result of the season. The team's first victory came in 1975, a pole-to-finish win by Barry Sheene at the Dutch TT. Sheene finished the season 6th overall with two wins.

Barry Sheene won the riders' championship in 1976 with a total of five wins.[5] Sheene's second 500cc riders' championship came in 1977 with six wins. Team mate Steve Parrish was fifth.

In 1978 with two wins on the new Suzuki RGA, Sheene finished second in the championship behind Yamaha rider Kenny Roberts. Team mate Wil Hartog was fourth overall, also won two races. The 1979 championship was again won by Roberts with Virginio Ferrari finishing second, Barry Sheene third and Wil Hartog fourth, all riding the new Suzuki RGB.[5]

1980s[edit]

Randy Mamola joined Suzuki in 1980. While Yamaha rider Roberts won his third title, Suzuki riders Mamola was second, and Marco Lucchinelli third. Lucchinelli became the 500cc World Champion in 1981 riding the new Suzuki RG 500 gamma for the Roberto Gallina racing team.[6]

Lucchinelli left Suzuki to join Honda in 1982. He was replaced on the Gallina team by Franco Uncini who went on to win the World Championship with five wins. Uncini was severely injured at the Dutch TT at Assen in 1983 and was unable to defend his title. Suzuki withdrew factory support at the end of the season.[6]

After three years away Suzuki returned in 1987 with factory supported entries. While not a full-time return, riders Takumi Itoh and Kevin Schwantz had some good results aboard the new Suzuki RGV500. Suzuki made a full return to racing in 1988 with Schwantz finishing 8th overall with two wins whilst teammate Rob McElnea finished the season in 10th place.[6] With a total of six wins, Schwantz was ranked fourth for the 1989 season.[6]

1990s[edit]

In 1990 Schwantz was second overall with five wins while teammate Niall Mackenzie was 4th.[7] Another five wins ranked Schwantz third overall in 1991. Doug Chandler became Schwantz's teammate for 1992 during which Schwantz enjoyed one win to finish the season fourth followed by Chandler's fifth place overall.

Schwantz won his long-awaited first World Championship in 1993 with four race wins. His new team-mate Alex Barros also scored a win and finished 6th overall.[7]

In 1994, Schwantz was 4th overall with two wins whilst Barros was 8th.[7] Early in the 1995 season, Schwantz decided to retire from motorcycle competition. The other Suzuki rider Daryl Beattie finished the season second with two race wins.[7]

Scott Russell joined Beattie in 1996. Russell finished the season 6th while Beattie suffered serious injuries pre-season and did not have his previous form. He finished 18th.[7] Beattie was joined by Anthony Gobert in 1997. Beattie finished the season 11th and Gobert 15th. A fifth-place finish by Beattie was the team's best result that season.

Suzuki entered an all Japanese riders lineup in 1998 with Nobuatsu Aoki and Katsuaki Fujiwara. Fujiwara however was injured during pre-season tests and Aoki contested the world championship alone. He finished 9th for the season with a best result of 4th place. New rider Kenny Roberts, Jr. joined Aoki in 1999. Roberts Jr. took Suzuki's first win in the four years since 1995. His four wins gave him second place in the championship. Aoki was 13th.[7]

2000s[edit]

Roberts became World Champion in 2000 with a total of four victories,[8] Aoki was 10th overall.[7]

In 2001 Sete Gibernau joined Roberts riding the Suzuki RGV500. Gibernau finished ninth overall and Roberts 11th.[9]

In 2002, the debut year of the new MotoGP class, Roberts and Gibernau rode the new Suzuki GSV-R four-stroke motorcycle. The team's best result was a 3rd-place podium finish by Roberts at the Brazilian Grand Prix. Overall, Roberts finished 9th and Gibernau 16th.[9]

John Hopkins joined Roberts in 2003. Hopkins came seventh at the Spanish Grand Prix. However, Roberts missed three races due to a crash in the Italian Grand Prix and finished the season 19th two places behind Hopkins in 17th place.[9] The rider line-up remained the same for 2004 while Bridgestone replaced Michelin as the team's tyre supplier.[10] Hopkins finished the season 16th with Roberts Jr. again two places behind in 18th.[9]

Once again the rider line-up remained the same for 2005, while Englishman Paul Denning became the new team manager taking over the position of Gary Taylor.[11] Roberts took a second place podium-finish in the wet British Grand Prix but finished the season 13th. Hopkins finished 14th for the season.

Chris Vermeulen joined Hopkins in 2006.[12] Hopkins finished the season 10th while Vermeulen finished 11th with a 2nd place podium-finish at the 2006 Australian Grand Prix.

Both riders stayed with the team in 2007 and raced the new 800cc Suzuki GSV-R. Vermeulen took Suzuki's first win since the advent of four-stroke regulations and finished the season 6th overall. Hopkins finished 4th with four podium finishes.

For 2008, Chris Vermeulen was joined by Loris Capirossi as the rider lineup and the same lineup remained in 2009.

2010s[edit]

For the 2010 season Álvaro Bautista joined the team.

For the 2011 season, the team fielded only one GSV-R for Bautista with no replacement for Loris Capirossi, who moved to the Pramac Racing team. At the end of 2011 Suzuki pulled out of MotoGP citing the need to reduce costs amid the global economic downturn.

On 30 September 2014 Suzuki Motor Corporation announced that it would participate in MotoGP from 2015, with Aleix Espargaró and Maverick Viñales as their two riders. They raced a newly developed MotoGP machine, the GSX-RR, with a restructured team organisation led by Davide Brivio.[13]

MotoGP results[edit]

(key)

Year Moto Tyres Riders 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 Pts Final Pos
2002 Suzuki GSV-R D M JPN SAF ESP FRA ITA CAT NED GBR GER CZE POR RIO PAC MAL AUS VAL 150 4th
Spain Sete Gibernau Ret 16 9 12 Ret Ret Ret 6 Ret 4 Ret 8 Ret 14 12 13
United States Kenny Roberts Jr. Ret Ret 8 5 Ret 7 6 14 11 4 3 6 8 9 Ret
Japan Akira Ryō 2 11 15 13 11 11
Japan Yukio Kagayama Ret
2003 Suzuki GSV-R M JPN SAF ESP FRA ITA CAT NED GBR GER CZE POR RIO PAC MAL AUS VAL 61 10th
United States John Hopkins 13 13 7 Ret Ret 15 15 11 Ret 17 18 Ret 12 13
United States Kenny Roberts Jr. 14 15 13 16 Ret 15 20 17 17 15 14 9 11
Japan Yukio Kagayama Ret 12
Japan Akira Ryō 10 20
2004 Suzuki GSV-R B SAF ESP FRA ITA CAT NED RIO GER GBR CZE POR JPN QAT MAL AUS VAL 89 9th
United States John Hopkins 13 15 Ret Ret 14 15 9 8 Ret 6 Ret 8 Ret 15 12
United States Kenny Roberts Jr. Ret 8 12 Ret 17 16 7 8 17 10 14 Ret
Spain Gregorio Lavilla Ret Ret 16 17
Japan Yukio Kagayama 11 14
2005 Suzuki GSV-R B ESP POR CHN FRA ITA CAT NED USA GBR GER CZE JPN MAL QAT AUS TUR VAL 126 8th
United States John Hopkins 14 Ret 7 16 11 Ret 14 8 11 DNS 14 5 9 17 10 15 13
United States Kenny Roberts Jr. Ret 12 Ret 13 15 15 16 14 2 11 11 8 7 11 DNS
Japan Nobuatsu Aoki 16 Ret
2006 Suzuki GSV-R B ESP QAT TUR CHN FRA ITA CAT NED GBR GER USA CZE MAL AUS JPN POR VAL 214 5th
United States John Hopkins 9 Ret 17 4 15 10 4 6 8 10 6 7 6 12 12 6 11
Australia Chris Vermeulen 12 Ret 7 Ret 10 14 6 10 16 7 5 12 11 2 11 9 Ret
Japan Kousuke Akiyoshi 13
2007 Suzuki GSV-R B QAT ESP TUR CHN FRA ITA CAT GBR NED GER USA CZE SMR POR JPN AUS MAL VAL 368 3rd
United States John Hopkins 4 19 6 3 7 5 4 5 5 7 15 2 3 6 10 7 8 3
Australia Chris Vermeulen 7 9 11 7 1 8 7 3 16 11 2 5 2 13 11 8 7 6
Japan Kousuke Akiyoshi 17 Ret
Japan Nobuatsu Aoki 13
2008 Suzuki GSV-R B QAT ESP POR CHN FRA ITA CAT GBR NED GER USA CZE SMR IND JPN AUS MAL VAL 248 5th
Australia Chris Vermeulen 17 10 8 Ret 5 10 7 8 7 3 3 6 5 9 Ret 15 9 13
Italy Loris Capirossi 8 5 9 9 7 7 Ret 7 15 3 7 16 6 10 7 9
United States Ben Spies 14 8 6
Japan Kousuke Akiyoshi Ret
Japan Nobuatsu Aoki 17
2009 Suzuki GSV-R B QAT JPN ESP FRA ITA CAT NED USA GER GBR CZE IND SMR POR AUS MAL VAL 216 6th
Australia Chris Vermeulen 7 10 10 6 10 11 5 8 13 13 11 11 9 10 11 6 15
Italy Loris Capirossi Ret 7 6 8 5 5 9 Ret 11 11 5 7 5 Ret 12 9 14
2010 Suzuki GSV-R B QAT ESP FRA ITA GBR NED CAT GER USA CZE IND SMR ARA JPN MAL AUS POR VAL 129 6th
Spain Álvaro Bautista Ret 10 DNS 14 12 14 5 Ret Ret Ret 8 8 8 7 5 12 11 9
Italy Loris Capirossi 9 Ret Ret 10 Ret 13 7 11 10 Ret 11 Ret Ret Ret DNS 13 Ret
2011 Suzuki GSV-R B QAT ESP POR FRA CAT GBR NED ITA GER USA CZE IND SMR ARA JPN AUS MAL VAL 73 8th
Spain Álvaro Bautista DNS 13 12 12 5 11 13 7 Ret Ret 6 8 6 Ret Ret C Ret
United States John Hopkins 10 DNS C
2014 Suzuki GSX-RR B QAT AME ARG ESP FRA ITA CAT NED GER IND CZE GBR SMR ARA JPN AUS MAL VAL 0 NC
France Randy de Puniet Ret
2015 Suzuki GSX-RR B QAT USA ARG ESP FRA ITA ESP NED GER USA CZE GBR SMR ARA JPN AUS MAL VAL 202 5th
Spain Maverick Viñales 14 9 10 11 9 7 6 10 11 11 Ret 11 14 11 Ret 6 8 11
Spain Aleix Espargaró 11 8 7 7 Ret Ret Ret 9 10 14 9 9 10 6 11 9 7 8
2016 Suzuki GSX-RR M QAT ARG AME SPA FRA ITA CAT NED GER AUT CZE GBR RSM ARA JPN AUS MAL VAL 295 4th
Spain Maverick Viñales 6 Ret 4 6 3 6 4 9 12 6 9 1 5 4 3 3 6 5
Spain Aleix Espargaró 11 11 5 5 6 9 Ret Ret 14 Ret Ret 7 Ret 7 4 Ret 13 8
2017 Suzuki GSX-RR M QAT ARG AME SPA FRA ITA CAT NED GER CZE AUT GBR RSM ARA JPN AUS MAL VAL 16* 4th*
Italy Andrea Iannone Ret 16 7
Spain Alex Rins 9 Ret DNS

* Season still in progress.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Suzuki to suspend MotoGP operation due to 'tough circumstances'". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. Press Association. 18 November 2011. Retrieved 31 December 2015. 
  2. ^ Ramsey, Jonathon (18 June 2013). "Suzuki back in MotoGP for 2015". Autoblog. AOL. Retrieved 31 December 2015. 
  3. ^ a b Jack Findlay obituary - The Telegraph
  4. ^ "MotoGP Milestones". crash.net. Retrieved 30 March 2017. 
  5. ^ a b c "Suzuki Motorcycle History: Racing History 1970s". Global Suzuki. Retrieved 6 May 2012. 
  6. ^ a b c d "Suzuki Motorcycle History: Racing History 1980s". Global Suzuki. Retrieved 6 May 2012. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g "Suzuki Motorcycle History: Racing History 1990s". Global Suzuki. Retrieved 6 May 2012. 
  8. ^ "Kenny Roberts Jr, Biography and Information". highrevs.net. Retrieved 6 May 2012. 
  9. ^ a b c d "Suzuki Motorcycle History: Racing History 2000s". Global Suzuki. Retrieved 6 May 2012. 
  10. ^ "Suzuki MotoGP Team Makes Choice Of Bridgestone Tires Official". Road Racing World. 17 November 2003. Retrieved 6 May 2012. 
  11. ^ "Paul Denning, Suzuki Team Manager". MotoGP.com. Dorna Sports. 6 August 2005. Retrieved 30 September 2014. 
  12. ^ "Vermeulen Signs Two-year Deal With Suzuki MotoGP Team". Roadracing World. October 28, 2005. Retrieved 6 May 2012. 
  13. ^ "Suzuki return to MotoGP™ with Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Viñales in 2015". MotoGP.com. Dorna Sports. 30 September 2014. Retrieved 30 September 2014. 

External links[edit]