NEW TEAM MATES: Suzuki’s new team mates Andrea Iannone and Alex Rins show off their new bikes at their official team presentation one day before the second test. Image: Suzuki-racing.com
After Suzuki said goodbye to Maverick Vinales and Aleix Espargaro at the end of the 2016 MotoGP season, the bikemaker officially welcomed its new team riders and bikes at the team presentation in Sepang on Sunday (Jan 29).
Previously at Ducati, the 28-year-old Andrea Iannone will pair with Moto2’s Alex Rins as the new Suzuki Ecstar riders. Rins, just 21, will be making his debut in MotoGP for the 2017 season.
On his move to MotoGP, Rins was quoted on Twitter: "It’s not easy I feel a lot of power in my hands, wheelie-ing all the time but I enjoyed feeling the power and speed."
Rins added: "It’s more heavy than the Moto2 bike, especially in corners. My aim for 2017 is to learn and be fast, quickly."
The team will be looking to achieve more grand prix wins as well as aim for the championship.
In 2016 Maverick Vinales achieved his maiden win in Silverstone at the British GP.The Japanese team is led by team manager Davide Brivio. At the team presentation, Brivio said it’s important the team maintain their great history.
Brivio said: "We have a lot of pressure because Suzuki has a great history. We (are) trying to renew these targets."
On the new team riders, Brivio said: "We (are) very happy with our new rider line-up. We have ahead quite an exciting season. We have to deliver."
This year will mark Andrea Iannone’s fifth season in MotoGP. "The Maniac" as he is so often referred to, has made the move to Suzuki after four seasons at Ducati where he won his maiden grand prix win in Austria in 2016.
On the season ahead, Iannone said: “This year is my target (to win) but it’s difficult. We try the best together and I hope in the future.”
Suzuki previously used the GSX-R and in 2012 started with the development of the GSX-RR. Their main aim was to achieve a high performance in the premier class which they have as they’ve finished in the top five for the past two years.
On the new bike, Ken Kawauchi, Suzuki technical manager, said: "We have to improve all parts. There are lots of small changes, nothing major.
The new bike has a water-cooled four-stroke, in-line four-cylinder, DOHC four-valve engine with 1000cc displacement. The maximum output on the bike is over 176kw (240 OPS) with a six-speed seamless system gearbox. The superbike has 17" front and rear Michelin tyres and weighs only 157kg.