Suzuki to Join MotoGP Test at Catalunya
Suzuki plans to take part in the mid-June MotoGP test at Spain’s Catalunya circuit. If all goes according to plan, the June 17 test, which follows the sixth round of the 2013 MotoGP season, will mark the first time a Suzuki MotoGP bike has shared the track with the prototypes from rival manufacturers Ducati, Honda and Yamaha since 2011.
When Suzuki announced its withdrawal from MotoGP racing in 2011, the Japanese manufacturer said it planned to return for the 2014 season. Suzuki appears to be sticking to that timetable and recently had representatives attending a meeting between manufacturers and Magneti Marelli, a MotoGP ECU-provider.
In an interview with Crash.net during the MotoGP pre-season test at Malaysia’s Sepang circuit, Suzuki test rider Nobuatsu Aoki provided an update on Suzuki’s pending MotoGP return. Aoki has been riding Suzuki’s new 1000cc MotoGP machine at the company’s private test track and Japan’s Motegi circuit.
“We are on schedule,” says Aoki. “We launched a new version of the bike last week which performed pretty well.
“The plan is to take part in the Barcelona [Catalunya] post-race test, alongside the other teams. I will be riding at the test and also one European rider.”
That unnamed test rider is expected to be Randy de Puniet. de Puniet currently rides for the Aspar team on a Claiming Rule Team machine, but he has reportedly signed a contract to allow him to test for Suzuki. If and when Suzuki makes its return to MotoGP, it will likely work with an established race team such as Aspar.