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Is an all-new Suzuki GSX-R1000 on the horizon to spearhead a WorldSBK return?

The Suzuki GSX-R1000 is next in line to get a significant update and it could lead to the manufacturer returning to WorldSBK, according to reports

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Today I scribbled down a few article ideas, one of which reads: “What do we want to see from Suzuki in 2022?”

It was to be our take on the models that we understand to be on the product roster over the next 12 months, coupled with models or updates we think would make worthwhile additions to its range. Top of this list was going to be a new Suzuki GSX-R1000 and what we would expect from it.

And lo and behold, just as I am about to commit my brainstorm to legible copy, an article pops up on Asphalt & Rubber suggesting it has heard word on the grapevine that a new Gixxer is indeed on the way… and we could see it at EICMA 2021 in November.

New SUZUKI GSX-S1000 2021 Review | GSX-S1000 Road and Track Test | Visordown.com

Funny how the world works like that sometimes (*makes mental note to wipe internet history and tighten security…).

After a suspiciously quiet 2020, Suzuki has been making up for lost time with the second generation Hayabusa coming in February, followed hot on the heels by the new GSX-S1000, a model that has clear ties to the GSX-R.

Admittedly, the prediction of Suzuki working on a new GSX-R1000 isn’t exactly the largest leap when it comes to speculation. It’s the stalwart of the 1000cc+ sportsbike class at a practically ‘ancient’ four years old and while we enjoy its eager nature and tempting price tag, we’re not sure we’d currently take it over the current breed of ‘supes’, particularly its direct in-line four Japanese rivals, the Honda CBR1000RR-R, Yamaha R1 and Kawasaki ZX-10R.

Is Suzuki set for a return to the WorldSBK Championship?

It’s not clear which parts of Asphalt & Rubber’s report - which you can read here - has been borne from an official source and which is conjecture, but there are some interesting points to highlight nonetheless.

The first is a suggestion that the next generation GSX-R1000 is being developed with a mind that it will return the firm to production-racing. Suzuki hasn’t had a presence in WorldSBK since 2015 when it parted ways with Yamaha-bound Crescent Racing and found there to be little interest elsewhere in taking up the ageing K8 generation model in a project that received only moderate assistance from Hamamatsu HQ.

There were loose promises from Suzuki that it would return with the latest L7 model once it was launched, but few expected it in light of the firm clearly siphoning resource and budget to its MotoGP comeback. Having emerged champions in 2020, few will deny that it was probably a smart move.

But Suzuki’s absence is conspicuous, not least because it is in the minority - with Aprilia - to have a Superbike it doesn’t race on an international stage. That’s fine for Aprilia with its more exclusivity-geared sales targets but for Suzuki not racing and not beating the very models it is trying to beat in the sales charts means it is losing out on exposure that surely now negates any erstwhile cost-saving intentions.

What can we expect from a new Suzuki GSX-R1000?

Which brings us to consider what Suzuki will bring to the table with its (potential) new GSX-R1000. Given Suzuki tends to leave its models on sale somewhat longer than most before updating them, it will be wary of wringing the 999cc engine of every last pony if it was to leave it vulnerable to the next round of emissions tightening, a sting that forced it to drop ageing models and update others with the onset of Euro5.

However, as the Hayabusa shows, power is as much about the mind as it is about figures, with some clever electronic trickery ensuring the ‘falcon’ - though slightly less powerful than its predecessor - certainly doesn’t feel that way.

Currently the GSX-R1000 generates 185bhp, which is now quite a bit down on its main rivals, so we would wonder if Suzuki is eyeing up the magic 200bhp barrier this time. Not revolutionary compared with rivals, but still a significant jump for the Gixxer as we know it.

Much like we were with the Hayabusa though, the impression is that this update could just as easily be that, an update. Or it could be a complete overhaul, one that taps into the marketing momentum Suzuki should have leapt on in the wake of a MotoGP triumph you sense they didn’t expect either.

In terms of design, the GSX-S1000 can probably provide clues as to what the ‘R’ will look,.. That said, the surprise unveiling of a ‘lockdown project’ Katana from Team Classic Suzuki last week suggests this is the family face we will become more familiar with during the next cycle of Suzuki motorcycles.

Logic would dictate Suzuki is already designing the stand on which a 2022 Suzuki GSX-R1000 will sit proudly at EICMA. 

Then again, considering Suzuki took 21 years to dream up the second-gen Hayabusa and patents showing a replacement for the SV650/V-Strom 650 seem to have been floating around since 2018 with no sign of anything physical, we could just as easily be in for a long ol’ wait.

We choose to be optimistic nevertheless...