2005 was a year-long celebration of the 20th anniversary of Suzuki Motorcycle's legendary Supersport "GSX-R", which has dominated global racing circuits since a sensational debut in 1985. The company has aggressively evolved the series from the first-generation GSX-R750, to maintain a consistently spirited expression of Suzuki's racing technology. To deliver the pure excitement of race-winning performance to more riders, Suzuki has also expanded the series into larger- and smaller-displacement engine models.
'88 DAYTONA 200, #34 Kevin Schwantz
The illustrious history of the series begins with Suzuki's concept for first-generation GSX-R750 in March 1985: Born on the circuit, returning to the circuit. The GSX-R750 was designed to challenge global championships while fulfilling the sporting aspirations of non-professional riders.
Hiroshi Fujiwara, who was in charge of the basic layout of this first model, vividly recalls the excitement of his team at the beginning of the project. "This pure Supersport model was our first 750cc bike featuring an aluminum frame of unprecedented light weight and superb torsional rigidity. We had no real competitors in the market, other than factory racing machines."
The oil-cooled 4-stroke, 4-cylinder engine of the GSX-R750 delivered more than 100PS - far more power than any previous 750cc motorcycle. The exceptionally low dry weight of 179kg (395 lbs.) was equivalent to that of a 400cc-class model. Isamu Okamoto, engineer of engine design recalls: "We knew that reaching our goal of the world's best power-to-weight ratio required to realize overpowering performance would be an enormous challenge."
The GSX-R750 was a natural sensation among motorcycle enthusiasts and the press at a time when the capacity limit for Formula One and endurance racing had just been dropped from 1,000cc to 750cc. Suzuki's new 750 performed admirably in the AMA Superbike Championship and FIM World Endurance Championship and quickly became the racebike of choice among private riders worldwide, thanks to durability and affordability.
When American rider Kevin Schwantz rode the GSX-R750 into second place at the 1986 AMA Daytona 200, his name became synonymous with the machine. Schwantz's unique riding style on the GSX-R750 demonstrated an incredible man-machine interface that quickly engendered a legend. Victories in AMA Championship and the Le Mans and Bol d'Or 24-hour endurance events soon followed, to anchor the beginning of GSX-R750's winning history.