Suzuki Motorcycles Racing News June 2021
TEAM SUZUKI ECSTAR ALL FOR FANS VIDEO ONLINE
Team Suzuki Press Office – May 6.
Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Joan Mir and Alex Rins answer some of the best questions sent in by their fans in this new video from the team.
To watch on the Team Suzuki Ecstar YouTube channel: CLICK HERE
To watch on Team Suzuki Racing: CLICK HERE
Or watch on the embedded video below.
MERCURIAL FRENCH GRAND PRIX THE FIFTH STOP OF 2021
Team Suzuki Press Office – May 12.
Round five of the 2021 MotoGP™ World Championship will see the series head to the classic track of Le Mans Bugatti in northern France.
Team Suzuki Ecstar are on the hunt for a podium at the French Grand Prix this weekend, after a tricky fourth round in Jerez saw Joan Mir clinch a Top-five finish, and Alex Rins suffer a DNF.
Le Mans has brought about mixed results for reigning champion Mir, who won here in 2017 but finished 11th last year. Similarly, Rins did not finish the French GP in 2020, but in the past he has had several Top 10 MotoGP finishes, and a win in Moto2 in 2016.
Situated in the Sarthe region of France, Le Mans is synonymous with motorsports of all kinds thanks to its long history of events. The Bugatti track used by the MotoGP™ field was built in 1965 and can be classed as a ‘stop & go’ circuit featuring several tight corners and fast flowing sections.
Curiosity – GP of France: Together with Phillip Island, the French GP is the one where the riders spend the least amount of time at full throttle; only 16% of the total race.
Shinichi Sahara – Project Leader & Team Director:
“During the last race in Jerez we suffered a bit, especially as Alex had a DNF, although Joan managed to keep a nice pace and get a useful Top-5 finish. It wasn’t an easy race for us, it was tricky to manage the tyres and conditions, but we had a test day in Jerez on Monday after the race and that was very positive. We worked on many areas and found a lot of useful information that we hope to use in the coming races. Now we’re in Le Mans and we’re ready to try again to get good results for both our riders. The weather here is always quite mixed and it often rains, so we will have to take that into account too!”
“I enjoyed the test in Jerez, and I’m ready to take another step here in Le Mans. We may struggle a bit on this layout as on paper our bike struggles at ‘stop & go’ circuits, and also because the weather can make everything tougher. But obviously we want to get a strong finish and as many points as possible, so I’m looking forward to getting back on my bike and giving my best.”
“After the crash in Jerez I felt that my shoulder was a bit sore, it’s the same one that I injured last year so naturally I was a little bit concerned. I rode in the morning at the Jerez Test but I finished early so that I could go home and get my shoulder checked. There’s been no further damage found, so I have just been undergoing some treatments to ease it ahead of Le Mans. This is a circuit that can be unpredictable, but I’m looking forward to riding again and I want to bring my team a nice finish.”
CHASING BLUE SKIES ON CHALLENGING FRIDAY IN LE MANS
Team Suzuki Press Office – May 14.
French GP Day 1:
Alex Rins: 11th – 1’32.762 (+ 1.015)
Joan Mir: 13th – 1’32.908 (+ 1.161)
As is often the case when visiting northern France in Spring, weather dominated proceedings on Friday for the MotoGP™ World Championship’s opening day in Le Mans.
A damp and chilly start in FP1 gave way to a dry and dramatic FP2 session in the afternoon.
Team Suzuki Ecstar’s riders, Alex Rins and Joan Mir, were straight out on track in the morning and they used their time in FP1 to get to grips with the surface while on wet tyres, and to begin work on fine tuning their GSX-RRs. Mir had a small technical problem on his bike which caused a warning light to appear on the dashboard, therefore opting to safely park his bike up at Turn 8. However, this didn’t cost him much time and he was still able to finish FP1 in third place. Rins tried slick tyres at the end of the session but found conditions still too tricky; he took ninth.
The track temperatures were very variable in the afternoon, with some sectors as low as 14°c. Fast laps were needed early on as dark clouds closed around the Bugatti Circuit, and Suzuki’s riders headed out on soft slicks. The majority of the session went well, with Rins and Mir both looking strong and placing well into the Top 10, but the crash-strewn session became more-tricky as lap times dropped: Rins had a small crash at Turn 3 with four minutes left on the clock, and Mir was also in the gravel shortly after at Turn 8 while on a flying lap. Despite both riders promptly rejoining the session, they ended up in 11th and 13th respectively.
Ken Kawauchi – Technical Manager: “FP1 was held in wet conditions, and both riders felt quite good.”
TEAM SUZUKI ECSTAR PREPARE TO TACKLE FORMIDABLE FRENCH GP
Team Suzuki Press Office – May 15.
Grid positions for French GP:
Joan Mir: 14th – 1’43.422
Alex Rins: 15th – 1’43.523
A wet and cold Saturday greeted the riders at Le Mans Bugatti circuit in northern France, and despite it being impossible to improve on yesterday afternoon’s times.
The FP3 session was useful for Team Suzuki Ecstar’s riders as they tried different tyre options and both reported feeling confident in the rain.
The circuit warmed up a little in time for the afternoon’s FP4 action, but the only chance to use slick tyres came right at the end of the session; Alex Rins demonstrated Top-3 pace for much of the session, ending it in second. Meanwhile, Joan Mir was firmly in the Top 10, closing FP4 in seventh.
Suzuki’s pair wasted no time in Q1, heading immediately out with wet tyres and staying on track with no pitstops scheduled. Both Mir and Rins did a superb job of stringing quick laps together, with their times steadily improving. Their first three flying laps placed them in first and second places, but towards the end of the session, a yellow flag cost Mir one lap, and Rins also struggled to improve. Despite a decent flying lap from Mir at the end of Q1, in the final moments both he and Rins were pushed to fourth and fifth in the session. That means that they will start 14th and 15th on the grid for tomorrow’s GP.
SUZUKI FINDS POSITIVES FROM FRENCH GP DESPITE DOUBLE DNF
Team Suzuki Press Office – May 16.
SHARK GRAND PRIX DE FRANCE
MotoGP Race Classification:
Joan Mir: DNF
Alex Rins: DNF
Round 5 of the MotoGP™ World Championship in Le Mans was always going to be one of the most unpredictable and dramatic races of the season with extremely unsettled weather dominating proceedings from Friday morning onwards, and for Team Suzuki Ecstar it was a weekend to forget.
The 27 lap race was declared dry before the start despite dark clouds closing in, and the entire field, including Team Suzuki Ecstar’s riders, opted for soft-soft slick tyres. Alex Rins got off to a flying start from his 15th place grid spot, placing himself ninth into the first corners and quickly getting up to sixth by the end of Lap 1. Fighting hard and demonstrating excellent pace, Rins had worked his way into fifth on the second lap of the race. Similarly, Joan Mir was up into eighth place after a great pass at the chicane on the third lap.
On the fourth lap of the race, just as Rins worked his way into a superb third place, the clouds broke and heavy rain began to fall around the Bugatti Circuit. In this intense and dangerous situation, coming into change bikes was the only option.
Mir was extremely unlucky as he lost grip just before he could head into pit lane and he found himself down in the gravel trap with no option of rejoining. Rins made it in for his bike swap, but just after exiting pit lane on his wet setup GSX-RR, he was down at Turn 4. Rins was able to rejoin after the team gave him a second bike with rain tyres, but on Lap 14 he fell again at Turn 3. Both riders are uninjured.
M4 ECSTAR SUZUKI WINS FIFTH IN A ROW AT VIRGINIA SBK
Team Suzuki Press Office – May 23.
Sean Dylan Kelly: GSX-R600 – 1st
Cameron Petersen: GSX-R1000 – 5th
Sam Lochoff: GSX-R600 – 8th
Bobby Fong: GSX-R1000 – 12th
Team Hammer’s Sean Dylan Kelly continued his winning ways as the 2021 MotoAmerica AMA/ FIM North American Road Racing Championship season picked back up for Round 2 at Virginia International Raceway on Saturday.
Despite suffering from illness, M4 ECSTAR Suzuki rider Kelly continued to build and carry his momentum in the MotoAmerica Supersport class. ‘SDK’ kept his early 2021 record unblemished, upping his pole record to two-for-two and his wins mark three-for-three after the opening day.
M4 ECSTAR SUZUKI DOUBLE VICTORY IN MOTOAMERICA
M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Sean Dylan Kelly continued to lead the charge
Team Suzuki Press Office – May 24.
Sean Dylan Kelly: GSX-R600 – 1-2
Jake Lewis: GSX-R1000 – 1-2
Bobby Fong: GSX-R1000 – 12 – 5
Suzuki and Team Hammer upped the ante following a successful 2021 MotoAmerica AMA/ FIM North American Road Racing Championship season opener with an even stronger Round 2, notching up two victories, two pole positions, and four podiums at Virginia International Raceway.
M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Sean Dylan Kelly continued to lead the charge, scoring the pole in MotoAmerica Supersport for a second consecutive weekend aboard his GSX-R600 and then backing it up with a fifth consecutive race win dating back to the end of the 2020 season.
‘SDK’ rounded out his weekend with a runner-up result on Sunday to leave with a healthy 17-point championship advantage following four races.
Said Kelly: “It was definitely a challenging day and we’re not satisfied at all with the P2. We’ve been working hard. We’ve got three wins so far and we’re looking for more. I promise we won’t make it as easy for the opposition at the next one. We’re going to do our homework and come back stronger at the next one. Thanks again to M4 ECSTAR Suzuki and all my guys.”
Sam Lochoff, Kelly’s young M4 ECSTAR Suzuki stablemate, continued to show vast potential early in his MotoAmerica Supersport career. After seeing a potential podium foiled by an off-track excursion that resulted in an eighth on Saturday, the South African rebounded with a fifth-place ride on Sunday to match his career best in the class.
Meanwhile, Altus Motorsports Suzuki’s Jake Lewis effectively mirrored Kelly’s weekend in Stock 1000 aboard his Team Hammer-built GSX-R1000. The Kentuckian earned the pole on Saturday and then took his first race win since claiming the Superstock 1000 victory at Sonoma Raceway aboard an M4 ECSTAR Suzuki back in 2017.
Like Kelly, Lewis rounded out his weekend with a Sunday runner-up in a thriller that came down to the race’s final lap. As a result, Lewis now leads the Stock 1000 championship fight by a seven-point margin.
M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Superbike duo of Bobby Fong and Cam Petersen again demonstrated podium pace and race-winning potential but were unable to fully exploit it.
An electronics issue dropped Fong out of a fight for second on Saturday and down to an eventual 12th-place finish. As a result, he was forced to start Sunday’s rematch from the outside of Row 4. Despite the disadvantage, the charging Californian hustled his GSX-R1000 Superbike into another scrap for the podium before taking fifth in the end.
Petersen was shuffled back from third to fifth in the race’s decisive laps on Saturday. Looking to make amends, the South African got an excellent start and attempted to storm into second in the race’s opening corner, only to be pushed off track and down to last place.
Petersen spent the remainder of the race making up that lost ground, finally clawing his way to seventh at the flag.
M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Wyatt Ferris improved on his opening round performance in Stock 1000, claiming eighth and 11th-place finishes as he continues to acclimate to the team’s GSX-R1000.
Team Hammer and Suzuki will be back in action for Round 3 at high-speed Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, on June 11-13th.
Virginia MotoAmerica Image Gallery (Brian J. Nelson): CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS
Championship points (after 2 rounds): CLICK HERE