MotoGP 2017 Preview: Suzuki Ecstar

It’s hard to make of what exactly Suzuki’s goals are in MotoGP. Since their return to the field after a three years absence, they have finished 5th and 4th in the constructors championship, behind the big three, but the bike has always seemed to be lacking something, with only the incredible talents of Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Viñales pushing them beyond their means.

This year, it’s two new riders, and a step into the unknown, as the beautiful blue machines try to make further inroads on the establishment.

The bike

2017-launch-gsxrr19

Ain’t it pretty?

Name Suzuki GSX-RR
Engine 1000CC Water-cooled, 4 Stroke in-line 4 cylinder, DOHC 4 valve
Power 240PS
Chassis Twin Spar Aluminium
Transmission Six speed Seamless System
Brakes Brembo Carbon/Steel Disc

There seems to be a perception that all the bikes have gotten better for this year, so we’ll see if the same can be said for this one. That said, a better bike might not be enough to improve their chances…

The riders

Out Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia), Maverick Viñales (Yamaha)
In Andrea Iannone (Ducati), Alex Rins (Paginas Amarillas, Moto2)

iannone

29 – Andrea Iannone
Age 27 Born Vasto, Italy
Honours None
2016 9th, 112pts, Ducati
Race Record
Class Races Wins Podiums Points Best
125CC 77 4 5 292.5 7th, 2009
Moto2 51 8 19 570 3rd, x3
MotoGP 65 1 7 459 5th, 2015

There is no denying that Andrea Iannone is a very fast racer who is capable of winning races. There is also no denying that Andrea Iannone is a borderline lunatic who doesn’t know how to brake properly.

If he could ever put a full season together without falling off the bike and taking out teammates and rivals alike, you could put him into the title picture. But, he doesn’t seem capable of doing so. There’s a reason he’s called Crazy Joe, the Maniac, whatever tagline he’s giving himself this year.

However, this year could be a good one for him. He’ll be the veteran in the lineup, the elder with a rookie to look after.

rins

42 – Alex Rins
Age 21 Born Barcelona, Spain
Honours None
2016 3rd, 214pts, HP40 Paginas Amarillas (Moto2)
Race Record
Class Races Wins Podiums Points Best
Moto3 52 8 23 689 2nd, 2013
Moto2 36 4 17 448 2nd, 2015

Alex Rins has seemed to come from nowhere in the last two years, which is weird considering how fast he was in Moto3 too. His top showings on the HP40 in Moto2 have gotten him this gig, having good battles with the likes of Tito Rabat, Sam Lowes and Johann Zarco.

You’d fancy he’d have a tougher time getting to grips with a MotoGP bike, especially one that will be the fourth-best on the grid, if that, but then his team mates the past couple of years haven’t been fighting for honours while he has, so he clearly has the natural talent.

In truth, his biggest barrier to success this year is his team mate. If he can avoid the clumsiness of Iannone, he could have the sort of year Maverick has had in the past couple of seasons. Otherwise, this won’t be a very happy relationship.

The team battle

Here’s the thing. If Iannone can grow up and stay on the circuit, he should win this one. But, if we’re following form, he won’t. Whether Rins can beat him or not depends on how much he can avoid and ignore Iannone’s nonsense.

This year has the potential to be a good year for both riders. It’s also got the potential to be a nightmare.

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