Suzuki trials 2020 MotoGP engine in Japanese GP practice at Motegi

Suzuki MotoGP test rider Sylvain Guintoli was left 'encouraged' after a strong practice debut for the GSX-RR's prototype 2020 engine on Friday at the Japanese Grand Prix

Suzuki trials 2020 MotoGP engine in Japanese GP practice at Motegi

The 2014 World Superbike champion is making his fourth wildcard appearance for Suzuki this year at its home race at Motegi this weekend, and he is racing the first version of its '20 engine among other developments.

Guintoli ended the day 19th overall after setting his "best time around Motegi ever" of a 1m46.803s running the new engine, which he only tested just a few weeks ago at the Japanese venue.

"We already did some laps [on the engine] in the last test we did here, which was two, three weeks ago," Guintoli said when asked about the new Suzuki motor.

"Obviously, when you bring something new like that it takes some time to adjust.

"But already this is encouraging because this afternoon, that was my best time around Motegi ever. "I never did a [1m]46s before here, so overall this is a good sign."

Though Guintoli was forbidden to go into any detail on where the new engine is stronger, he says it is now a case of working "on the little bits" to not rob it of the "already very good" character of the current version.

"The first impression is very good," he added. "That's nice. We already identified some strong points. I can't give you any details, unfortunately, but the actual engine and character of the bike is already very good.

"So, we don't want to be taking things away [from that], but at the moment we can see already with this prototype some positive points.

"Now we have to work on the little bits so we don't lose the character."

When asked if more speed was the ultimate aim of the new engine, he replied: "Not necessarily. We are looking for different aspects.

"Obviously more speed is always better, but we are also looking at different aspects."

Suzuki's current engine took a respectable step forward from 2018 in terms of top speed, with Alex Rins fourth-fastest through the FP2 speed traps at Motegi at 309.4km/h (192.3mph).

This matched Andrea Dovizioso on the famously rapid Ducati, and Rins was just 1.2km/h (0.75mph) off of the best speed set by Pramac Ducati's Jack Miller.

For reference, Guintoli was 10th through the speed trap in FP2 at 307.6km/h (191.1mph) with the new engine.

However, the speed trap figures available do not take into account other factors, such as slipstreams and engine mapping modes riders used at the time.

Suzuki will be wary of trying to squeeze any more power out of its engine, after a wrong engine choice for 2017 severely affected the GSX-RR's famed handling.

This year's Honda has been lambasted by its riders for being difficult to ride due to its powerful new engine, which has been able to match the power of the Ducati - another bike which has typically been weaker in corners.

shares
comments
Quartararo outpaces Vinales in Japan MotoGP FP2
Previous article

Quartararo outpaces Vinales in Japan MotoGP FP2

Next article

Lorenzo: Motegi MotoGP Friday my best on the Honda since Assen crash

Lorenzo: Motegi MotoGP Friday my best on the Honda since Assen crash
The other Suzuki signing that could transform Honda's MotoGP form Plus

The other Suzuki signing that could transform Honda's MotoGP form

Following Suzuki's decision to quit MotoGP, both of its former riders have landed at Honda for 2023. But perhaps its biggest signing from the now-defunct team could instead be a highly-rated technical manager. Is Ken Kawauchi the right man at the right time to steer HRC back to glory?

MotoGP
Jan 26, 2023
How the MotoGP paddock has offered refuge to Suzuki's former team Plus

How the MotoGP paddock has offered refuge to Suzuki's former team

Suzuki's unexpected departure left more than 40 professionals virtually jobless for the 2023 MotoGP season. But that human drama has been successfully corrected by the paddock itself, with most former Suzuki crew-members absorbed into other operations

MotoGP
Jan 14, 2023
How one MotoGP team went from title fights to losing it all in four years Plus

How one MotoGP team went from title fights to losing it all in four years

The Petronas Sepang Racing Team came into MotoGP with a bang in 2019 as regular front-runners, with wonder rookie Fabio Quartararo mounting a title challenge in 2020. But it all went wrong for the Razlan Razali-helmed squad as the team changed hands and tumbled down the order - and RNF Racing plans to right this in 2023

MotoGP
Jan 3, 2023
Is MotoGP's comeback king ready to reclaim his throne? Plus

Is MotoGP's comeback king ready to reclaim his throne?

Marc Marquez’s sixth premier MotoGP title seems a long time ago given the injury woes he has faced in the three years since. At the end of a fraught 2022, in which he had a fourth major operation on his right arm, the Spaniard speaks exclusively to Autosport

MotoGP
Dec 23, 2022
How MotoGP’s underachiever is working to reverse its fortunes in 2023 Plus

How MotoGP’s underachiever is working to reverse its fortunes in 2023

As European manufacturers emerged as the strongest force in 2022 in a changing of the guard for MotoGP, one powerhouse couldn’t quite match the feats of Ducati and Aprilia. Its motorsport chief tells Autosport why this is and what it is doing to become a consistent frontrunner in the class of kings

MotoGP
Dec 20, 2022
How MotoGP riders are preparing for the physical stress of sprint races Plus

How MotoGP riders are preparing for the physical stress of sprint races

With the expansion of the calendar to 21 grands prix and the introduction of sprint races, the 2023 MotoGP season will take the riders to almost 1,300 kilometres of competition more than this year, a factor that forces adjustments in their physical preparations.

MotoGP
Dec 9, 2022
The Ducati rider who is much more than just the brother of a MotoGP legend Plus

The Ducati rider who is much more than just the brother of a MotoGP legend

Surname pressure is something many have had to deal with in their motorsport careers. And while Luca Marini doesn’t have that, his familial relation and the team he rides for in MotoGP have cast a brighter spotlight on his progress. But, as he has shown in 2022 – and as he reveals to Autosport – Marini is so much more than just the brother of a legend

MotoGP
Dec 6, 2022
Ranking the top 10 riders of MotoGP 2022 Plus

Ranking the top 10 riders of MotoGP 2022

The 2022 MotoGP season was another hotly contested championship, with Francesco Bagnaia emerging as the title winner after the campaign went to the wire. Autosport picks out the 10 best performers of the season

MotoGP
Nov 29, 2022