MotoGP GSV-R Laps IoM TT: Tech Talk

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Gary McLaren is the Data Analyst for Loris Capirossi and the Rizla Suzuki MotoGP team. He recently spent time at the 2010 Isle of Man TT Road Race prepping the race machine.

As the final race of the week concluded, Suzuki signed-off the 2010 motorcycle racing week, with the first ever lap of the TT course by a MotoGP machine, with Relentless Suzuki by TAS TT racer Cameron Donald riding the GSV-R and setting a fastest top speed down Sulby straight at 202 mph.

Cameron Donald says: “Man, that was just amazing. I thought the bike would be really difficult and twitchy to ride, but it was great. I was expecting to ride a steady lap, but it was so good that I was able to get a great rhythm going and pick up a fast pace.”

Despite not looking to smash any records, Donald still managed to set a highest top-speed at the TT, with 202 mph recorded on the Rizla Suzuki GSV-R down Sulby straight.

Gary McLaren (talking more about his TT experience) says: “I’ve just got back from the Isle of Man after helping to get the Rizla Suzuki GSV-R set up for a lap of the famous TT course with Cameron Donald, to help Suzuki celebrate its 50th anniversary of racing on the island.”

“We went there with no information about how the bike would work on the roads or any data from the circuit, so it was hard to work out exactly what’s required to make a MotoGP bike work around there. Also it’s a 37.7 mile lap, which is something that the bike’s never done before, so we had to take all that into consideration.”

“To get any data you need to wait about 19 minutes for the bike to do a lap and come back before you find out what’s going on out there and we just didn’t have that opportunity, because it was a one-lap run.

“We had a bit of help from the Relentless guys as they gave us some info about how they set-up the superbike for the TT course and we were able to modify the suspension – mostly for a safety point of view – to try to make the bike easier for Cameron to ride.”

“The lap was really only supposed to be a demo lap, but as soon as Cameron got on the bike he said that if felt so good he was able to push a bit harder, so it looks like we got the settings about right from the start.

“When he got back we checked the data and it all looked really good and everything worked well. From that we were able to generate our first GPS MotoGP TT map for the whole circuit, showing exactly what was happening to the GSV-R over the Isle of Man Mountain course.

“The TT circuit compared to a normal race weekend at one of the MotoGP circuits is very similar; the only difference really is that it is a longer circuit and the fact that it’s on public roads makes it a lot bumpier than the tracks we would visit.”

“There were a couple of areas on the track – such as the bottom of Bray Hill – where Cameron was told to take it a bit easy because the GSV-R is not built for this type of environment, but besides that he was on his own to ride the bike the way he did.”

“The Bridgestone tyres also worked really well around the whole circuit and that was another thing that helped Cameron do such an impressive first lap as he had so much confidence in them. He rode a full-spec GSV-R, just the same as if Loris or Alvaro were using it; the only change we made was to put on steel brake discs, because with the carbon ones that we use in GPs he wouldn’t have got enough heat in them to work properly.”

“Other than that he was on a full-blown MotoGP bike on British roads and I am happy that I was able to help in some way to make it such an amazing event for the fans at trackside and be a small part of the Isle of Man TT history!”

On the final, Dainese Senior Race day, Capirossi lead away the Suzuki parade on a Rizla Suzuki GSX-R1000 for his first ever lap of the famous TT course and afterwards commented:

Loris Capirossi says: “This place is incredible. I’ve seen the TV footage before, but nothing prepares you for the TT course. The surface is much bumpier than I imagined and when you see the speeds that these guys run at, it is simply amazing. It’s a fantastic event that you could never replicate anywhere else in the world.”