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Champions Suzuki reveal why it is now struggling to fight for MotoGP wins

Team Suzuki Ecstar believe it is losing up to 0.4secs per lap because the GSX-RR is the only bike on the grid without a ride-height lowering device

Joan Mir - Suzuki Ecstar


Joan Mir and Alex Rins say Suzuki’s opportunity for race wins in the 2021 MotoGP World Championship season is being hampered by the lack of a ride-height device that they believe costs them up to 0.4secs per lap.

The 2020 MotoGP title-winning team has endured a sobering title defence so far this year with no wins from the opening nine races, though the ever-consistent Mir remains a solid fourth overall with three podiums to his name, albeit 55 points adrift of Fabio Quartararo.

While Mir was able to sustain a title challenge despite an average starting position of only ninth place in 2020, this year the disparity in form over a single lap has been more notable for both himself and Rins.

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However, while Suzuki’s superior ability to look after its tyres often allowed Mir and Rins to make gains in race conditions, its progress is seemingly being stuttered by the GSX-RR’s lack of a ride-height device that can be engaged during a race.

Indeed, while the team has now developed a hole-shot device which keeps the front-end low at the start of a race, the philosophy has been adopted by Suzuki’s five rivals to work at the rear when exiting corners to provide extra drive and grip.

It is in this area that Rins and Mir feel they are lacking, losing ground at the start of a straight and therefore unable to keep up or attempt a passing manoeuvre. 

“Suzuki calculate in every track," Rins told Crash.net. “For example, in Sachsenring we were losing 0.4 seconds. And here at Assen, I don't know exactly, we are losing 0.3." 

"It depends on the track. For example, in Qatar without this rear device, for sure on the straight the others were taking like 0.3, 0.4 seconds.

"In Sachsenring we felt it in the race and looking from the helicopter camera you can appreciate that the others were going away from Joan and me, we had no chance to overtake the rider in front.”

While the development freeze has prevented teams from making significant changes to the bikes until the 2022 MotoGP season, Rins is confident Suzuki will be back up to speed when the device is introduced after the summer break in Austria.

"It's been a long time that we have been asking for this rear device. For sure Suzuki is working hard, but they want to bring things when they are sure they are working well.”