This is the final week of MotoGP’s winter testing ban. Next week, teams will participate in the first official 2015 pre-season test at Sepang in Malaysia February 4-7.One group that has put in extra preparation ahead of the Sepang I test is the new Suzuki MotoGP team. This is Suzuki’s re-entry into MotoGP following a three-year hiatus; that year – 2011 – the sole rider Alvaro Bautista piloted the GSV-R to 13th overall.
But Suzuki returns in 2015 with an inline-four GSX-RR, and a two-rider lineup. Piloting these new machines are the young Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Vinales.The four-day Sepang I test will be the first time the two Spaniards will pilot the GSX-RR machines since testing in November at Suzuki’s development center in Ryuyo, Japan. Most testing during development of the GSX-RR was completed by Randy de Puniet – who rides with Crescent Suzuki in 2015 World SBK.Speaking ahead of Sepang I MotoGP test, Suzuki MotoGP Team Manager Davide Brivio – once Valentino Rossi’s TM – says “We are going to start the first test of the season, it is just another test for us, but the feeling this time is completely different as this is the real preparation for the coming season that starts very soon.“Going to Sepang we are in the same situation as everybody else as we start to prepare for our first season and of course we are all very excited. We have just finished assembling the new bikes in Japan and we know that our riders can’t wait to get back on the bikes as we start this new project and understand where we are at regarding development.”The riders also previewed the Sepang I MotoGP tests:Espargaro says: “I’m really excited to get back to the track again on my Suzuki. The first tests in Valencia and Jerez last November were good and satisfying so we have basically kept working in the same direction and targeting the first race of the season. We will have lots of hours testing in Malaysia which means that there’s plenty of time to try the new bike and I’m sure that we can be competitive against the other teams and riders.”Vinales says: “I’m 100% ready to get back in action again and I can’t wait to get on the bike in Sepang. I’ve spent most of my time over the winter riding motocross, cycling and ice racing and I have done whatever I could do to be fit and ready for the first test.“I’m confident in my physical condition and I believe that the Suzuki engineers and our team has kept working hard during the winter months; I’m very excited to see the progress made on the bike. I already have a very positive feeling from the tests in November and my expectations for my first MotoGP season with Suzuki are extremely high.”
This week, Senior Editor Nic de Sena rides the all new Ducati Monster. Big changes have been made by Ducati–has the company ruined the considerable heritage of the iconic Monster–or are the changes worth it? In the second part of the show, we chat with Nick Ienatsch, Founder and Head Instructor at the Yamaha Champions Riding School. He says: “We aim to change your riding life by introducing you to Champions Habits: The techniques, approaches, skills, and the mindsets of the best riders in the world. These Champions Habits are the foundation of safety and consistency to whatever speed you ride, in any venue on any bike. Street riders, this is just as much for you as track riders. The best way to make safe riders is to make good riders.“ We hope you enjoy this episode!