First News Emerges From De Puniet's Suzuki MotoGP Test In German, British And Spanish Media

Randy de Puniet has completed his first two-day test on Suzuki's MotoGP machine. The Frenchman flew to Japan directly after the French round of MotoGP at Le Mans, to take part in the test organized at Motegi's Twin Ring circuit, home of the Japanese round of MotoGP, and a circuit owned by Honda.

Under the terms of his testing contract, De Puniet is unable to say anything official, his manager Eric Mahé telling the French magazine Moto Journal only that the test "went well". Suzuki did not publish any times from the test or provide any other information, but as the MotoGP test teams from both Yamaha and Honda were present, it was inevitable that times would leak out. German-language website Speedweek claims the scoop, with times also to be published in the Spanish magazine Motociclismo, which is out on Tuesday.

According to Speedweek, the test took place in excellent conditions, with temperatures of 28°C and a dry track. The German website reports De Puniet as having posted a time of 1'47.0 on Suzuki's new inline four MotoGP machine, though no other confirmation of that time has been forthcoming. In comparison, that is as fast as Honda test rider Takumi Takahashi on the day, and half a second quicker than Yamaha test rider Katsuaki Nakasuga.

So how competitive does that make Suzuki's new MotoGP machine? When we compare it to the times set by MotoGP riders during the race last year, it seems like a solid start. De Puniet is just over 2 seconds off Jorge Lorenzo's pole time, and 1.4 seconds slower than Dani Pedrosa's best race lap at the event. De Puniet's time puts him a little slower than the race pace of the Ducati, Valentino Rossi having posted a lap of 1'46.739 during the race, though he qualified 0.8 seconds faster than that. Comparing De Puniet's test time to his own performance at the race on the Aprilia ART machine, he is just under six tenths quicker than his qualifying time, but over two and a half seconds faster than the time he set during the race. De Puniet's race time is hard to compare: he crashed on the first lap on the Aprilia ART machine, and never fully recovered his pace, retiring after the halfway point. It was much cooler during the race weekend in 2012, of course (air temperature 20°C), meaning that this week's test took place under much more favorable conditions.

Just how accurate these times are, and how competitive Suzuki's MotoGP machine will actually be, will become more apparent when the Suzuki receives its first public outing in three week's time, at the Monday test after the Barcelona round of MotoGP. That test takes place with official timing, and De Puniet will once again be riding the bike there. 

Despite the test, Suzuki's official entry is yet to be confirmed. The Japanese factory had initially asked Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta for entry slots for just a single year. Given Suzuki's checkered history in recent years - asking for extra engines in the allocation, asking for an exception for the now-defunct rookie rule, cutting back to just a single rider in 2011, despite assurances to the contrary, and then pulling out altogether at the end of 2011 - Ezpeleta is keen to have them sign a three-year contract, to prevent the Japanese factory from withdrawing after just a single year.

Former Valentino Rossi manager Davide Brivio has been contracted to run the team, and is currently putting together a workshop in Italy. As for the riders, Cal Crutchlow remains the hot favorite for one seat, the other looking like going to a young Italian rider. Former Suzuki MotoGP crew chief Tom O'Kane was present at the Motegi tests to function as crew chief, and is widely believed to have been contracted for the role. 

The website of the British motorcycling weekly Motorcycle News has a selection of photos of the bike.

Times, official and unofficial:

Rider Bike Event Time Diff
Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 2012 QP 1:44.969  
Dani Pedrosa Honda 2012 QP 1:45.212 0.243
Dani Pedrosa Honda 2012 Race 1:45.589 0.620
Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 2012 Race 1:45.727 0.758
Valentino Rossi Ducati 2012 QP 1:45.976 1.007
Valentino Rossi Ducati 2012 Race 1:46.739 1.770
Katsuaki Nakasuga Yamaha 2012 QP 1:46.780 1.811
Randy de Puniet Suzuki 2013 Test 1:47.000 2.031
Takumi Takahashi Honda 2013 Test 1:47.000 2.031
Katsuaki Nakasuga Yamaha 2012 Race 1:47.220 2.251
Randy de Puniet Aprilia ART 2012 QP 1:47.581 2.612
Katsuaki Nakasuga Yamaha 2013 Test 1:47.590 2.621
Wataru Yoshikawa Yamaha 2013 Test 1:47.900 2.931
Kousuke Akiyoshi Honda 2013 Test 1:47.930 2.961
Randy de Puniet Aprilia ART 2012 Race 1:49.642 4.673

Race and qualifying times from the 2012 Motegi round of MotoGP taken from the official MotoGP.com website. Test times are unofficial, unverified times as published by German website Speedweek.

Randy de Puniet has completed his first two-day test on Suzuki's MotoGP machine. The Frenchman flew to Japan directly after the French round of MotoGP at Le Mans, to take part in the test organized at Motegi's Twin Ring circuit, home of the Japanese round of MotoGP, and a circuit owned by Honda.Under the terms of his testing contract, De Puniet is unable to say anything official, his manager Eric Mahé telling the French magazine Moto Journal only that the test "went well". Suzuki did not publish any times from the test or provide any other information, but as the MotoGP test teams from both Yamaha and Honda were present, it was inevitable that times would leak out. German-language website Speedweek claims the scoop, with times also to be published in the Spanish magazine Motociclismo, which is out on Tuesday.According to Speedweek, the test took place in excellent conditions, with temperatures of 28°C and a dry track. The German website reports De Puniet as having posted a time of 1'47.0 on Suzuki's new inline four MotoGP machine, though no other confirmation of that time has been forthcoming. In comparison, that is as fast as Honda test rider Takumi Takahashi on the day, and half a second quicker than Yamaha test rider Katsuaki Nakasuga.

Comments

not bad

for a start they seem okay...hope they will be much more competitive at the Barcelona tests...

Total votes: 54

Sounds like a good start

Maybe they won't be competitive initially, but even if they can do battle with the Ducatis (barring any huge leaps forward for them) it'll make for a more competitive racing throughout the pack

Total votes: 64

Ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

Ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

Total votes: 57

GSX-R?

At least it is certain not to be a CRT bike which seemed a possibility at times.

Total votes: 59

so...

Why would RdP test the bike ( with the approval of his current team) if he was neither in the frame for a seat or his current team wasn't in the frame to run the Suzuki next year?

Total votes: 57

job

Because it's his job to ride motorcycles?

Total votes: 60

RDP on Suzuki

Unless I read this wrong the test was for two days only. Which is not nothing, but is just enough time for RDP to get used to the bike (Day 1), then start pushing (Day 2). I would have to see his results after this with maybe a three day straight run on the bike. That way we could see him fully comfortable and pushing the bike to it's motogp race limits.

Looking forward to seeing more tests with RDP to see how this pans out. So far, it looks like the bike may be very solid.

Total votes: 61

Perhaps Suzuki will provide

Production bikes for a couple of riders who do not make the Factory cut?
They cannot be blind to the adverse publicity if this goes badly. The secrecy tells us that: say nothing , let the results speak for themselves.
It's clear that if you want to make decent progress (as Ducati) you need more than two riders running during race weekends/standard tests.
As professional, highly skilled/talented people I would expect RdP and anyone else to be 'up to speed' within a few laps. Days don't 'do it' at this level - Marquez has set new benchmarks there too it seems, but they all have that type of capability to get to 99+% quickly. (100% being the absolute best of man and machine; anything over that a fantasy. 1% being +/- 1 second a lap). Given the importance of tenths of a second at this level 99.5% is probably the meaning of 'good'.
Perhaps Spies has a plan similar to the current Ignite deal?
After all the negativity around the last time and the US business closure I hope Suzuki can make a good job of this.
Perhaps the turnaround of their WSBK performance is telling us something good......

Total votes: 63

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