Photos of the Suzuki XRH-1 Testing at Catalunya

06/16/2014 @ 11:40 pm, by Jensen Beeler20 COMMENTS


Testing alongside the rest of the MotoGP paddock, Suzuki Racing was present again at the Catalunya test, with Randy de Puniet once again turning laps on the Suzuki XRH-1. Now using the Magneti Marelli electronics, Suzuki has the long process of dialing-in the XRH-1’s full potential.

Also a priority at Catalunya was Suzuki’s more powerful iteration of its inline-four engine, which the Japanese OEM hoped would close its gap to the other OEMs. In the hands of Randy de Puniet, the Suzuki XRH-1 was 2.499 seconds off the pace of test-leader Marc Marquez, though that margin comes with an asterisk.

While the rest of the paddock has had since Friday to hone their machines and bodies to the Circuit de Catalunya, Suzuki and RdP did not have that luxury going into Monday’s test. One can also argue De Puniet’s pace to the other GP riders, as with all due respect to the Frechman, Marc Marquez he is not.

With a thousand variables at play (we can even question the validity of test times in general, as teams are testing not qualifying/racing), it is easy to make excuses for RdP and Suzuki as to why the gap remains so far from the other factories, but the end result is that the XRH-1 is a tough character to judge. That makes Suzuki’s return to the GP paddock a bit of a wild card.

With Both of Ducati Corse’s riders praying for a miracle, or a better option, Suzuki could be that salvation. One also has to consider Dani Pedrosa’s rumored $8 million price tag, and the bevy of other contracts that expire at the end of the season. Suzuki’s impending presence is a considerable factor in MotoGP’s game of musical chairs..

Being a difficult factor to judge though has made Suzuki, the Suzuki XRH-1, and Randy de Puniet’s role in all this is very speculative and uncertain. The only thing we can say for sure then is that it will be interesting to watch the limited number of “factory” seats sort themselves out.










Photos: © 2014 Scott Jones / Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved


  1. 999 says:

    Wouldn’t the asterisk also consider the Magneti Marelli software that’s being run, as apposed to say the proprietary factory wizardry of Honda or Yamaha? Hmmmm I suppose only time will tell. Suzuki is certainly no stranger to the GP paddock, but we’ll see how hard it is to play catch up after half a decade.

  2. Lewis Dawson says:

    The Suzuki is running proprietary software, as are Honda, Yamaha, and Ducati. So no asterisk needed.

  3. TwoWheelLoo says:

    Suzuki NEEDS a rider who’s been or on the top of their game…. sorry but RdP hasn’t been much of that, even when he was with LCR.

  4. vman2957 says:

    Would love to see Hayden on another Japanese factory ride.

  5. John D'Orazio says:

    If Suzuki wants to be taken seriously, not to mention fully develop its bike, then the company will have to pay what it takes to attract an “alien”, or at least a near alien. Would any of them seriously consider an offer from Suzuki? Perhaps so, if in addition to money, they were shown that the budget and engineering were in place to move development forward rapidly.

    Ducati’s riders might be likely targets. If I were either of them, I would seriously consider jumping ship. I am a Ducati fan, but the whole project continues to struggle. Suzuki’s budget might not be close to Honda or Yamaha, for that matter, but I’d bet its more than Ducati’s. Also, there still seems to be a whole lot of negative inertia at Ducati.

  6. JW says:

    I have said it before, many a times, I hope Hayden is offered the job. If anything he will help Suzuki in sales way more than several other of the riders names that are going around. Plus the price tag for Hayden is within budget , yes DP would be a great fit as a rider but 8 million may be out a reach for Suzuki. Has anyone heard about Hayden and Suzuki? Crutchlow is last pick please.

    I would be interested in hearing from the rest of you guys on this:

    L2C what say ye?

  7. JW says:

    Ducati pays pretty well, I think more than Suzuki can pay. Why put an alien on a bike that realistically is 2 seconds behind. I think match the bike to a solid rider who can help develop the bike and solidify the team in Motogp.

  8. RR says:

    That is the prettiest MotoGP bike. The gap to Marquez is not worth assessing at this point, there is too much at play. Most prominently, RdP hasn’t been racing, and he was never a near-alien when he was.

  9. birch says:

    The main problem Suzuki has is RdP… the rider wich is consistently slow on any bike.

  10. birch says:

    Hayden should be the better alternative. Americans always do well on Suzuki… which needs some WC input. One ex-WC and one young gun should do the job. Unlike RdP..

  11. vman2957 says:

    ^^^ Agreed

  12. L2C says:

    @ Jw

    I think that Suzuki should hedge their bets. If the factory can snag Esteve “Tito” Rabat from Moto2, that would be an excellent acquisition for them. Maverick Vinales is probably going to stay in Moto2 for another year, but if it were possible, he would be an excellent choice, too. The long shot would be Takaaki Nakagami. He hasn’t been performing anywhere near his ability/potential this season in Moto2, but I would love to see a Japanese pilot riding for a Japanese factory. Nakagami is someone that just needs to find the right situation in order to perform at his best, I think. Can Suzuki provide him that? It would be great if they could.

    Hiring top riders from Moto2 would be good because they have no technical expectations of a MotoGP bike. Rookies mainly want to go fast first and learn the technical requirements to go fast second. They would take chances based on what they wanted to achieve, instead of the seasoned cautious approach that many of the premiere class riders favor.

    If Cal Crutchlow were still at Tech 3, he would have been the best option of available premiere class riders, in my opinion. Because of his experience at Tech 3 with the Yamaha M1, and in terms of competing against the other two Japanese factories, Suzuki wouldn’t have been able to do any better. JLo and Rossi aren’t going anywhere, neither are Marquez and Pedrosa. Crutchlow would have come at a reasonable cost and he would have had the experience as a de facto factory rider – much like Stefan Bradl – and that would have been very valuable to Suzuki. Too bad he’s stuck at Ducati. And if Crutchlow could get out his current contract, he’s probably not ready to take another massive gamble.

    Crutchlow should stay were he is. Ducati now has access to to a wealth of technical know-how (VW Group/Audi) that they didn’t have access to previous to last year. There is a very good chance that the Desmosedici is going to be a top-flight machine in the future. The question is when.

    So, yes, that leaves Nicky Hayden. I’m just not sure that his breadth of knowledge is relevant to what Suzuki wants to achieve. Heck, I dont’ even know what Suzuki wants to achieve, but Hayden seems to be the best option right now, if he’s available. I just think that Suzuki could do better, only there aren’t any other options that ticks all the boxes that Hayden does.

    No disrespect to Hayden, but he stayed with Ducati for far too long going nowhere. Now he has a debilitating wrist injury. I’m not even sure that Hayden would be good for what not to do, given his experience at Ducati, because the problems that ail the Desmosedici seem to be deeply mysterious. It’s known what the bike suffers from, but no one seems to know why. Otherwise, it would have been fixed by now, right?

    Hayden is getting some experience on the Honda RCV1000, so that’s good and relevant. Suzuki could take advantage of that. Ironically, the best place for Hayden is with Ducati! But that relationship doesn’t exist anymore. With his extensive knowledge of the Desmo, he certainly has more experience to help develop it than Crutchlow. From the point of view of riders helping to develop race motorcycles, it’s darkly humorous that Crutchlow and Hayden aren’t where they would make the best impact.

    Of course, it must be said, what do I know?

  13. L2C says:

    “Hiring top riders from Moto2 would be good because they have no technical expectations of a MotoGP bike. Rookies mainly want to go fast first and learn the technical requirements to go fast second. They would take chances based on what they wanted to achieve, instead of the seasoned cautious approach that many of the premiere class riders favor.”

    Should be:

    “Hiring top riders from Moto2 would be good because they have no technical expectations of a MotoGP bike. Rookies mainly want to go fast first and learn the technical requirements to go fast second. They would take chances based on what they wanted to achieve, instead of the seasoned cautious approach that many of the premiere class riders favor. This could lead to the discovery of innovative solutions for Suzuki.

  14. vman2957 says:

    Yeah Duc blew it with releasing Hayden.. again I have to agree Hayden and a Young gun would be a great combo for Suzuki. Its easy to forget the dude is a WC and has still been in there fighting ever since.

  15. Jw says:


    I appreciate your insight about Suzuki and Hayden. I need to realize Hayden with his wrist problem may be what eventually forces him out of work all together, plus his age too must be a consideration. Wishful thinking on my part. Not much hope for American riders these days. I do agree a rider from moto2 like Tito or MV would be an awesome choice. Has anyone ever seen a rider from the 125 – 250 class ever bump right in to Motogp? Is this allowed?

  16. Jw says:

    Whatever happens, I am happy Suzuki will be on the grid in 15.

    Kawasaki and Aprilia are welcome to come back too..

  17. sburns2421 says:

    Perhaps Friday practice times would be a better comparison to the Suzuki post-race test, but unless conditions are nearly identical it is moot anyway.

    IMO Suzuki will not get Pedrosa or Dovizioso although those are its two best hopes for success. More like E. Laverty and another rider without winning history in MotoGP (someone like Ayoama or Bautista). Maybe Hayden but I doubt it, from a marketing perspective for them it would be attractive, but with planned improvements to the Honda production racer Hayden will probably stay there if he can assuming doesn’t retire due to the wrist.

  18. spokexx says:

    Maybe Michael Jordan will start a Suzuki MotoGP team and use Roger Hayden ??? They’ve been using Suzukis for years.

  19. motomoto says:

    It will more than likely be Eugene Laverty. He has already tested it and was faster than Rdp. He’s already in Denning’s pocket. A solid choice IMO

  20. “Has anyone ever seen a rider from the 125 – 250 class ever bump right in to Motogp? Is this allowed?”

    Yes. The 250 class was THE feeder class into 500s and then MotoGP prior to the inception of Moto2. As for the jump from 125 straight to the premier class, the only rider I can recall off the top of my head to do it was Garry McCoy, who moved from 125s to 500s in 1998. He rode 125s for 6 seasons before the move. McCoy was savvy enough on the big bikes to make an 8-year career in the premier class, so, yeah, it can be done.

    Of course, 250s nowadays are the Moto3 bikes. While I don’t think there are any regulations barring riders from moving straight from Moto3-class racing into MotoGP, I don’t think it would ever be commonplace. The most likely scenario would be for a moneyed rider to buy a seat in MotoGP, but whether that rider would ultimately be competitive enough to actually retain that seat is questionable.