Features

"The main thing to focus in Motegi is the braking"

After Buriram in Thailand kicked off the ‘fly away’ section of the 2018 calendar, the MotoGP paddock had a short rest before heading to Suzuki’s home in Japan. Twin Ring Motegi has been part of the MotoGP calendar for almost 20 years, and the popular circuit complex offers plenty of challenges for both teams and riders. Alex Rins’ Crew Chief, Manuel Cazeaux talks us through the key points and approach for this 16th round on the calendar.

“When you think about Motegi, the first thing that comes to mind, other than it being Suzuki’s home race, is the very hard braking, which is mainly straight line braking. You spend so much time on the brakes that it can be an issue, so you need to use the correct configuration; the one with the hardest braking settings, which means bigger discs and a cooling system, then you also need to set-up the rest of the bike to give priority to braking.”

While some people struggle with fuel consumption around the instantly recognisable Japanese track, this generally hasn’t been an issue for Suzuki and, as Manu, explains…

“The main thing is to focus on here really is the braking. It’s probably the most important aspect, and usually we haven’t had issues with fuel.”

Here we spend so much time on the brakes so it can be an issue. We need bigger discs and a cooling system

These hard braking zones coupled with having to accelerate out of them creates the need for a strong aerodynamic package to try and achieve an anti-wheelie affect away from the electronics.

“The wheelie-ing comes as a consequence for setting up the bike for braking - when you set up the bike for hard braking you will inevitably get some wheelie-ing. So the aerodynamic package makes a big difference and will be very important.

The track has interesting characteristics such as this precision braking and the lack of any really fast corners. And in some ways this suits the GSX-RR’s own characteristics.

“I would say that Motegi is a very low speed track with only two fast corners - Turns 6 and then 12 and 13 together. We tend to do quite well over most of the sectors. In 2016 we had a podium here and then last year in the wet we got 4th and 5th, so let’s see this year!

The Japanese GP is always a special one for Suzuki, being the home race for the factory. It creates a busy but nice atmosphere for all the team…

“It’s a different type of race for sure because you have a lot of people from the factory and a lot of meetings. You want to tell them all about what’s been happening during the year and you also make plans for the following year. We hope to have good results this weekend and enjoy it together.

Join Andrea Iannone and Alex Rins on track for the Japanese GP from October 19th.

 

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