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SUZUKI won the first time in a long time in MotoGP. Unraveling the signs of revival from SUZUKI’s history.


[Kenny Sagawa: Webike News Editor in Chief]

At the MotoGP 3rd round Americas Grand Prix that was held on April 14, Alex Rins of Team SUZUKI ECSTAR, who are participating with the GSX-RR to the MotoGP won the first victory.

SUZUKI MotoGP victory was the first in 2 years and 7 months since the 12th round British Grand Prix in September 2016. HONDA Marquez and Lorenzo have retired in a row, but it was not particularly bad weather and multiple crashes. It was a victory that is won by own ability. It was a good result and a big win for Suzuki, of course, himself.

A good maker that brings the first win for rookie.

I was just curious about Suzuki’s previous victory in MotoGP. On my investigation, Maverick Viñales, who are YAMAHA rider now, won the first time in the highest class at Round 12 of the British Grand Prix (Silverstone) in 2016, It led Suzuki to win the first MotoGP victory in nine years.
Then, nine years before that was 2007, Chris Vermeulen gave Suzuki the first victory in the MotoGP class with the GSV-R of the 800cc specification in the year when the regulation was changed in MotoGP. In other words, Suzuki had won three wins including this time since the MotoGP era. And, by chance, Suzuki is a lucky team for rookies with good experience to bring the first win.

Before MotoGP started with a 4-stroke 990cc machine in 2002, it has to go back to the era of WGP competed on a 2-stroke 500cc machine. From the 1970s to the 1990s, it was a warring period of three‐cornered battle by Japanese manufacturers such as Honda, Yamaha, and Suzuki, and Suzuki, of course, has always been involved in the yearly title contest as well as winning.

I’m reminded of the legend won by Suzuki

Most recently, Kenny Roberts JR, who gave Suzuki an annual title in 2000, is remembered. The father is famous Kenny Roberts, and the 2-generations WGP champion is the only one since 1949 when the World Grand Prix started.

And speaking of Suzuki, this person. It is Kevin Schwantz who continued fighting for his lifetime Suzuki machine and finally won the champion with RGV-Γ500 in 1993. He eas called “the Crownless Emperor”, and he was active in the most intense GP history of legendary GP riders such as Lawson, Rainey, Gardner and Dohan.
He bravely competed with the latest Honda and Yamaha machines that have an advantage at the time and attracted many fans with a brave riding style of winning or crashing. It was new to our memory that he showed us a sharp riding that rivals the active duty age, such as participating from Yoshimura to Suzuka 8 hours Endurance Race just a few years ago.

As an aside, I am the same age as Schwantz and I have a special feeling personally, I participated in KSSS (Kevin Schwantz Suzuki School) that he sponsored in Atlanta in 2008.
Also at that time, I still remember clearly that he led with GSX-R1000, and looked back behind with a wheel at the end of the corner with the distinctive lean-out form, and You winked to me. Since then, school invitations have come every year but I have not been able to challenge again.

Heroic of 500cc

Franco Uncini, who won five goals with RG500 in 1982 and became an annual champion, is a memorable rider. In next year’s Dutch TT, he made crash after fall with Wine Gardner machine, who would be a world champion later. The front wheel hit his head and the helmet blew off, causing a loss of consciousness but recovered miraculously.
He still contributes to the racing world by acting as a safety director for MotoGP at FIM.

What I can not forget is the Barry scene that played an active part in Suzuki’s 70s golden age. He was a British rider who became popular by good looking face like a movie star and the Donald Dug painted the helmet. He suffered many injuries but recovered like a phoenix. He rode on the RG500 engine which Suzuki introduced for the first time in the 500cc class that was commonly called “Square 4” with cylinders arranged in a square and won the WGP 500 champion for two consecutive years in 1976 and 77.
Even he was a man with a destiny, but after he retired from the race, was died young by illness.

Somehow, it has become like the lives of great legend SUZUKI GP riders, but when I’m writing this column now and I feel very nostalgic. At that time, the Grand Prix was with my youth age. Expectations also spread to Suzuki, whose fortune has been rising, and I want Suzuki to come back to the champion again.

See SUZUKI Moto Index Page
See Accessories for SUZUKI RG500 Gamma
See Accessories for SUZUKI GSX-R1000 (Gixxer ,GSXR)

Kentaro (Kenny) Sagawa

Kentaro (Kenny) Sagawa

Author profile

Motorcycle Journalist
 Kenny become freelance journalist at the age of 32 after working at several IT and marketing companys. Working as a magazine editor, he is currently working as one of the most famous motorcycle journalist in Japan and activly working to diffuse "safety riding" through magazines and web media.
・Chief editor of "Webike Moto News".
・Principal of "Riding Academy Tokyo".
・Representative of "Moto Maniacs Co., Ltd."
・Traffic psychologist of "The Japan Association of Traffic Psychology".
・MFJ (Motorcycle Federation of Japan) certified instructor.

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