During the build up to the Italian Grand Prix at the Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello, Team Suzuki Ecstar Test Rider, Sylvain Guintoli, collaborated with BT Sport to give fans an insight to riding a sportsbike around the Tuscan track. After the experience he sat down with Team Suzuki Ecstar to chat about the differences between the road going GSX-R1000R Anniversary Edition and the full factory MotoGP™ GSX-RR machine.
The Magic of Mugello
“First of all, it was just great to be back on this track ahead of the GP weekend, I love this place. It wasn’t the first time I’ve ridden Mugello with a road bike, I also rode the GSX-R1000R last year when we unveiled the special 100th Anniversary livery. It was such a pleasure to be back here, and it was also interesting to talk through the lap as I was riding - I’ve never done that before. The helmet was mic’ed up, there were cameras all over the bike, and you plan to say a lot of things but you don’t really have time to to say it all! Also, when you’re riding there is so much adrenaline that it’s actually quite difficult to concentrate on what you’re saying - so it’s not easy to go fast and talk, but it was really exciting and good fun to do. I was trying to describe the corners and describe all the sensations because this is such a special track, and I wanted to convey all of that; the crazy high top speed, the big jump, all of it. I loved the experience."
I would say my favourite part of the track to ride is the same as with the GP bike; from Casanova Turn 6 onwards, into Arrabbiata 1 and 2, wow, it’s just so good.
“I would say my favourite part of the track to ride is the same as with the GP bike; from Casanova Turn 6 onwards, into Arrabbiata 1 and 2, wow, it’s just so good. With both bikes my favourite parts of the track were the same - the flowing parts.”
Top Speed & Opening The Gas
“You’re always at a lean angle at this circuit, so the first time that you can really open the gas is on the straight, then you notice the top speed difference; 350km/h with the GP bike, 300km/h with the road bike. The road bike still feels very fast though, and it picks up quickly.”
Despite the road going bike not having the same seamless shift system, it feels amazingly good, very similar to a race bike.
Setting A Hot Lap
“When it comes to setting a quick lap the GP bike, the GSX-RR, is obviously faster and it’s a full on race bike with all the factory modifications. But the road going bike is easier to ride, much less stiff, so the really interesting thing is that it wasn’t much slower around a lap at all - I was about 10 seconds slower with the GSX-R100R, but that’s not a lot around such a long track! The speedometer tops out at 300km/h on the standard bike, it’s very fast. It also turns very well because the chassis is very supple and more compliant, it feels so smooth and easy to ride so it’s really enjoyable.”
On The Anchors
“I would say braking is the biggest difference between the two bikes, the thing you notice the most. Because on the race bike you have carbon brakes, and they stop you in your tracks, but it's less violent on the road bike. The GSX-R100R has very good braking, but the feeling is different to the GSX-RR. The road bike itself had Michelin tyres fitted on it, the Evo tyres, and there was a lot of grip so it was really fun.”
“Another difference is the gear shifts, on the MotoGP bike we have the seamless shift gearbox so it’s really smooth, especially with the high amount of power that’s being delivered. But despite the road going bike not having the same seamless shift system, it feels amazingly good, very similar to a race bike. I was very impressed, it has an auto-blipper, a quick shifter, and that makes riding much better.”
Personalised All The Way Up To 11
“With constant development on the electronics side in MotoGP, that has transferred onto the mainstream market and you can now control many things on the GSX-R1000R road bike. You can set everything how you like it - there are three engine mapping modes, ten different levels of traction control. Well, in fact there are eleven because you can have zero which is no traction control at all, all the way through to ten which is the most traction assistance. You can make a lot of adjustments to set it how you feel best, you have a lot of freedom, if you want to be able to slide the bike a bit you can set it low like one or two, and it will allow you to wheelie. But if you put the traction control higher it’s like a safety net, the bike is then quite well controlled and it allows you more confidence. The electronics strategy, the engine braking, and the slipper clutch on the GSX-R1000R are all very easy to use.”
Track Days & Team-Mates
“This experience has been really good, the only thing that could make it better is if Alex and Joan joined me on the track and we had one road bike each to put in some laps together, we would have a great time! The GSX-R1000R might be slower than the GSX-RR GP bike, but the enjoyment is exactly the same. Absolutely amazing fun.”
You can watch Sylvain’s onboard commentated lap of Mugello right here!