Suzuki 4-Stroke GP Preview

Brent Avis
by Brent Avis
Akira Ryo, who rode the all-new Suzuki GSV-R MotoGP racer to runner-up spot inits first ever race, will be returning to the Grand Prix circuit for a trio ofmid-season races.

The 34-year-old Japanese racer from Team Suzuki will participate at theCatalunya GP in Spain on June 16th, the Assen GP in the Netherlands on June29th and the British GP in the UK on July 14th. He will be running in thepopular blue and white Team Suzuki livery as a wild-card rider in a bid toaccelerate the development program of the GSV-R...

Suzuki brought thecompetitive debut of this bike forward by a year to 2002 and is sparing noresources or effort in its evolution, aiming to make it into a winner on thetrack this year.

Ryo, who is the reigning 2001 All-Japan Superbike Champion, has been involvedin the development of the 990cc, V-4 GSV-R four-stroke racer since the projectstarted in Japan under the XRE0 code in 2001. He has spent months on the testtrack working on the engine and chassis, as well as campaigning the machine inthe All-Japan Superbike Championship, all with the aim of turning the GSV-Rinto a race winner as soon as possible.

At the first MotoGP race this year at Suzuka, Japan, on April 7th, Ryo rode theGSV-R as a wild-card entry. In torrid wet conditions he led for most of theevent and finished a close second to current World Champion Valentino Rossi,proving the pedigree of the new Suzuki beyond doubt.

Ryo said: "I am very happy to be racing in three European rounds of the MotoGPChampionship. The GSV-R is an incredible bike and we are happy with how well itis performing after being on track for such a short period of time. But Suzukiwants to win races and we need to accelerate the development of the bike. Thatmeans having another rider competing at the highest level and giving morefeedback to the factory. That is my job in these races."

Team Telefonica MoviStar Suzuki manager Garry Taylor said: "We are happy to seeAkira back on the GP circuit. Any input the factory can get will speed up thedevelopment process of the GSV-R. Having a third Suzuki rider on the samemachinery will be a big help."

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