If you ask me why it took so long to develop the new Suzuki GSX-R1000. The answer is that the 2017 Suzuki GSX-R1000 is the most important model for Suzuki, and it was frustrating that we couldn’t release a new model until now. Some years ago, Suzuki’s motorcycle focus switched to the Asian market and small motorcycles, but after that they started to think again, and ask: ‘What is the strong point of the Suzuki brand?’
The answer is sportbikes, so then we could restart the project. But I had to explain very carefully, to the management, why we need to make such a motorcycle, because the normal customer can’t use such high performance.
The Suzuki GSX-R1000 is not specifically developed for track racing or road use, I think the divider between road and track is 50:50. If we engineers think to change something, we always think first about racetrack performance. But if it’s not good for street performance we have to rethink it, because if we throw away the street performance it’s not a GSX-R.
For example, if our test riders said something was good for top speed but we lose bottom-end feeling we would never accept it. One manufacturer, I don’t say which one, has a production motorcycle that is difficult at low engine speed. Maybe that’s not a problem on a race track but it’s a problem for average road use.
The most difficult part of developing the new Suzuki GSX-R1000 was having such high performance with very high reliability was a very big challenge, but the most difficult part was balancing the different demands. For example if I gave priority to engine performance, maybe I would lose some chassis performance.
The engineers in the GSX-R1000 development team were bringing new ideas, and sometimes fighting. But after a while they realized everyone had the same target and same direction, and after that it was much easier.
We did not give the new Suzuki GSX-R1000 semi-active suspension, it is very interesting but we didn’t use it now partly because of the expense, and partly because our biggest target was maximum performance, and semi-active suspension did not help with that.
It could be useful on the Suzuki GSX-R1000 especially for the road, for example if you can choose a riding mode like Street or Rain, and the suspension changes too. In the future it’s possible, but for now our suspension is very good and we are concentrating on performance.