Live from the 2011 Suzuki GSX-R600 launch: Session 1

There's a lot to take in...

Blimey. Not sure I’m learning the bike or the track here but I suspect the latter. Just done eight or so laps with John Reynolds showing me the way and after that I can start to appreciate what the bike’s doing rather than where the blind apex is lurking.

It steers beautifully and is really sensitive to subtle changes in throttle position, tightening its line on an applied throttle and steering with pin point accuracy on the brakes. Suzuki were right to be waffling on about the big piston forks and Brembo callipers. There’s so much feel from the front Bridgestone it’s already drawing me deeper and deeper into the turns and stretching my braking points to the point where the back brake is almost redundant.

So as the track’s coming to me, the front end of the GSX-R is getting better and better but it’s two other things that are starting to become really apparent: The balance of the bike in the middle of a turn and the way the engine gnashes its way through the gears, spinning up freely and eagerly. Lighter pistons with shorter skirts and improved crank case breathing making a noticeable difference. Coming out of the penultimate corner onto the super-long back straight is a great demonstration of the improved drive and punt out of turns that their engineers were searching for.

All I’ve got time to do now is glug back some water and we’re out again. Oh, and have a contemplative Marlboro. Back in half an hour or so…

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