|World Grand Prix Road Racing History|
RIZLA SUZUKI MotoGP, the factory team in 2009, entered the series with Loris Capirossi and Chris Vermeulen under the sponsorship of RIZLA in its third season for 4-stroke 800cc GSV-R. Despite of good results in winter tests, they had to spend much time during the season to ensure stable machine performance. GSV-R reached the top five in the 5th round in Italy, the 6th round in Catalunya, the 7th round in the Netherlands, the 11th round in the Czech Republic, and the 13th round in San Marino. Loris Capirossi finished the season ninth in the overall ranking.
The sixth-ranked rider of the 2007 season, Chris Vermeulen and newly joined veteran rider Loris Capirossi raced aboard the 4-stroke 800cc GSV-R through its second competitive season of the series.
Chris Vermeulen achieved third place podium finishes both in the 10th round German GP and the 11th round Indianapolis GP consecutively, and finished the 2008 season eighth overall. Loris Capirossi, on the other hand, was forced to retire from the race in the 7th round Catalunya GP due to the injury caused by a rear-end crash during the race, which obliged him to miss the 8th round British GP. Although he came back to the race in the 9th round Dutch GP, unlucky injury during practice troubled him again. Annoyed by repeated unfortunate injuries, he finished the season ranked tenth despite his third place podium finish in the 12th round Czech GP.
Meanwhile, 2006 and 2007 AMA Superbike champion Ben Spies competed for the injured Loris Capirossi in his absence in the 8th round British GP, and then raced in the 11th round U.S. GP and the 14th round Indianapolis GP as a wildcard entry, finishing in fourteenth, eighth and sixth places in those rounds respectively.
Suzuki entered the series with John Hopkins and Chris Vermeulen on the new GSV-R machines with engine displacement minimized from 990cc to 800cc to meet the changed regulations. The newly developed 800cc engine was well matched to the mature body inherited from the former model.John Hopkins put himself on the podium 4 times and placed fourth in the overall ranking of the series making great progress from the 10th in the last year.
Meanwhile, Chris Vermeulen secured the first victory for the Suzuki GSV-R in the France GP, and achieved podium finish in England, U.S.A. and San Marino GPs placing sixth in the overall series ranking. In the San Marino GP, Chris and John placed second and third respectively and stood 8 times in total on the victory podium on their GSV-Rs. The 2007 season was a significant leap forward for RIZLA SUZUKI MotoGP.
Suzuki participated in the MotoGP series with newly joined Chris Vermeulen and John Hopkins. John Hopkins scored his best ever MotoGP finish with a superb fourth place both in the fourth round China GP and the seventh round Catalunya (Spain) GP and finished the 2006 season in the tenth place overall constantly adding points. While, Chris Vermeulen steadily racked up the points with outstanding performance including the second place in his first MotoGP appearance in the fourteenth round Australian GP and ended the season in the eleventh place overall.
The GSV-R, given a big power boost while retaining its high cornering speeds from the year before, is piloted, as last season, by Kenny Roberts Jr. and John Hopkins. Kenny Roberts Jr. made a great showing by taking a podium-finish 2nd place in rainy weather at round 9 British GP, but ranked only 13th for the season. John Hopkins rode to a 5th-place finish at the Japanese GP, but ranked only 14th for the season.
Suzuki fields 2004-spec GSV-R (project code no. XRE2), developed with a review of engine-braking control and torque characteristics and improvement of machine controllability, and piloted by Kenny Roberts Jr. and John Hopkins. New Bridgestone tires replacing Michelin tires proved a fine match with the machine, which demonstrated greatly enhanced competitiveness. Kenny Roberts Jr. takes the pole position at the Brazilian GP, while John Hopkins qualified 2nd at Japanese GP. However, due to setbacks including repeated rider injuries and unfortunate accident at the Japanese GP, best result was no higher than 6th marked by Hopkins at the Portuguese GP. Season rider points standings fall short of expectations, with Hopkins at 16th and Roberts Jr. at 18th.
Kenny Roberts Jr. and John Hopkins pilot 2003-spec GSV-R (XRE1), powered by a newly designed engine featuring changes including modified V-angle. John Hopkins comes in 7th at the Spanish GP. However, with setbacks including Kenny Roberts Jr. missing out three races due to a crash in round 5, season rankings fall short of expectations, with Hopkins at 17th and Roberts Jr. at 19th.
In accordance with regulation changes, Suzuki enters the new 4-stroke 996cc machine GSV-R. Wildcard entrant Akira Ryo takes 2nd place in the opening round. Kenny Roberts Jr. takes a 3rd-place podium finish at round 12 Brazilian GP.
Sete Gibernau wins GP round 12, while Kenny Roberts Jr. finishes 3rd. Gibernau is ranked 9th for the season, Kenny Roberts Jr. 11th. Moving up the schedule a year, Suzuki announces entry of 4-stroke machine in the 2002 World GP season.
Kenny Roberts Jr. wins 2-year consecutive victory in the Malaysian GP, the season's 2nd round. With a total of four victories, Roberts Jr. becomes the champion, which for Suzuki is the sixth world title, and the first in seven years since 1993.