Suzuki: In-line engine was not copied by Yamaha / MotoGP


The claims that Suzuki only got successful in the MotoGP World Championship by copying Yamaha’s in-line engine concept are just a fairy tale.

Of course, Suzuki took part in the new MotoGP four-stroke World Championship with 990 cc in 2002 in the first year. Suzuki opted for a V4 concept for the GSV-R, while Yamaha relied on an in-line four-cylinder from the start. But the variety left nothing to be desired. Aprilia built a 990 cc in-line three-cylinder with Cosworth, Honda won with the 990 cc V5 cylinder RC211V, and the WCM team of Bob McLean and Peter Clifford even gave a V6 at Minimoto manufacturer Blata in Blansko near Brno -Motor in order.

However, Suzuki never got on the same level as Honda and Yamaha with the V4 engine of the GSV-R, the only GP victory with this bike was celebrated by Chris Vermeulen in 2007 in the rain at Le Mans.

At the end of 2011, Suzuki temporarily withdrew from the MotoGP World Championship. There were several reasons. First, the Japanese suffered from the aftermath of the global economic crisis. Second, Suzuki needed money to buy back the 30 percent stake that the VW Group under Piëch had acquired in the Japanese brand. And thirdly, the engineers need time to swap the V4 engine, which was not competitive even with 800 cc from 2007, for the new 1000 cc era (it began in 2012) for a newly designed in-line engine for the GSX-RR.

When Suzuki moved closer and closer to the top of the world championship table with Joan Mir and Alex Rins with this GSX-RR in the 2020 season and then several times put both drivers on the podium, some TV commentators heard that Suzuki had MotoGP return in 2015 simply copied the Yamaha engine concept.

But that’s not true.

Suzuki didn’t need to copy a Yamaha in-line engine for its 2015 return. With the GSX-R 750, Suzuki launched an in-line superbike as early as 1985. The GSX-R 1100 followed a year later.

These were the first supersport machines that were virtually ready for the race track, with full casing, aluminum frames and proper braking systems.

The first Yamaha R1 with the 1000cc inline four-cylinder did not come onto the market until 1998.

In addition, Suzuki won the first Superbike World Championship title with the GSX-R1000 with Troy Corser back in 2005, Yamaha had to wait until 2009 with the R1 (Ben Spies).

The GSX-R1000 was also the real reason why Suzuki decided to change the engine concept in the MotoGP World Championship. When John Reynolds conjured up a qualifying time as a wildcard driver in the 2004 Superbike World Championship at Silverstone, which would have meant sixth place in MotoGP qualifying that same year, the Suzuki engineers already suspected that an in-line engine would be better suited to the Suzuki MotoGP DNA would fit.

Due to the unfortunate V4 engine, Suzuki lost the best drivers such as Kenny Roberts Junior and Loris Capirossi, the major sponsors and, after the factory team was taken over by Crescent boss Paul Denning, also its reputation as the winning team. In 2011 only a one-driver team with Álvaro Bautista could be financed.

After the latest successes, a Suzuki customer team is finally on the way for 2022. Fausto Gresini (previously with Aprilia) and Esponsorama (until then probably owned by SKY VR46 Moto2 racing team owner Valentino Rossi) are two candidates. Petronas is also an option because the three-year contract with Yamaha expires after 2021.

Results MotoGP Portimão, 22.11.

1. Miguel Oliveira, KTM, 25 Laps in 41: 48,163 min
2. Jack Miller, Ducati, +3,193 sec
3. Franco Morbidelli, Yamaha, +3,298
4. Pol Espargaró, KTM, +12,626
5. Takaaki Nakagami, Honda, +13,318
6. Andrea Dovizioso, Ducati, +15.578
7. Stefan Bradl, Honda, +15,738
8. Aleix Espargaró, Aprilia, +16,034
9. Alex Marquez, Honda, +18,325
10. Johann Zarco, Ducati, +18,596
11. Maverick Viñales, Yamaha, +18,685
12. Valentino Rossi, Yamaha, +18.946
13. Cal Crutchlow, Honda, +19,159
14. Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha, +24.376
15. Alex Rins, Suzuki, +27,776
16. Danilo Petrucci, Ducati, +34.266
17. Mika Kallio, M.Sc. (Econ.), +48,410
18. Tito Rabat, Ducati, +48,411
– Lorenzo Savadori, Aprilia
– Joan Mir, Suzuki
– Brad Binder, KTM
– Pecco Bagnaia, Ducati

Final result of the drivers’ championship after 14 races:

1. Mir 171 Punkte. 2. Morbidelli 158. 3. Rins 139. 4. Dovizioso 135. 5. Pol Espargaró 135. 6. Viñales 132. 7. Miller 132. 8. Quartararo 127. 9. Oliveira 125. 10. Nakagami 116. 11. Binder 87 12. Petrucci 78. 13. Zarco 77. 14. Alex Márquez 74. 15. Rossi 66. 16. Bagnaia 47. 17. Aleix Espargaró 42. 18. Crutchlow 32. 19. Bradl 27. 20. Lecuona 27. 21. Smith 12. 22. Rabat 10. 23. Pirro 4.

Final result of the Constructors’ Championship:

1. Ducati, 221 Punkte. 2. Yamaha 204. 3. Suzuki 202. 4. KTM 200. 5. Honda 144. 6. Aprilia 51.

Team World Championship after 14 races:

1. Team Suzuki Ecstar 310 Punkte. 2. Petronas Yamaha SRT 248. 3. Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 222. 4. Ducati Team 213. 5. Pramac Racing 163. 6. Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP 178. 7. Red Bull KTM Tech3, 152. 8 LCR Honda 148. 9. Repsol Honda Team 101. 10. Esponsorama Racing 87. 11. Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 54.

All MotoGP winners 2020

Jerez-1: Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha)
Jerez-2: Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha)
Brünn: Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM)
Spielberg-1: Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team)
Spielberg-2: Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Tech 3)
Misano-1: Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha)
Misano-2: Maverick Viñales (Monster Yamaha)
Catalunya: Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha)
Le Mans: Danilo Petrucci (Ducati Team)
Aragón-1: Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar)
Aragón-2: Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha)
Valencia-1: Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar)
Valencia-2: Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha)
Portimão: Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Tech3)

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