After a season of extensive testing, Randy de Puniet will race the GSX-RR for the first time before Aleix Espargaró and Maverick Viñales get their first go on the new machine at the traditional post race test on Monday [10 November].
Testing has taken place at a number of circuits on the grand prix calendar as well as back in Japan, with the team’s biggest focus on getting its software to work with the Magneti Marelli ECU. The Valencia GP sees a manufacturer with 40 years of Grand Prix racing history return to MotoGP for the first time since 2011.
Team Manager Davide Brivio said, “This is a big moment for us because we have been testing for so long. We have been waiting for this.
“It is only a wild-card appearance and it is the last race of the year but I’m happy to be going to Valencia and I think it is a reward for Randy for the big job he has done on this project.
“It is the end of our preparation and I’m excited. I’m aware we have a big job to do and during the weekend we will take a lot of notes for the work we need to do through the winter. This is our first comparison with our competitors and you can only ever really see where you are through a race situation so it’s an important meeting.
“Suzuki has a long racing history and it is exciting to be part of the comeback. I am aware that the competition is very strong and they have kept racing while Suzuki stepped away for almost three seasons, so we need to catch-up and recover the gap and also learn as much as possible to get to their level.
“But the target is to be in a position to challenge our competitors as soon as we can.”
Randy de Puniet, who has been involved in the bike’s development for two years, said, “I’m excited. I’ve missed racing and it feels like a long time. We were out at the Suzuka 8-Hour but it was a different bike and pipe.
“I’m proud to be part of this comeback on the factory bike. I know it will be difficult to judge what result we can get but I want to enjoy the race and give the best that I can.
“I like the track even though it is not easy on a MotoGP bike,” the 33-year-old added.”It is a place where you need good grip and traction and that is something we worked a lot on in the last two tests.
“We are right at the end of the championship; but we are just beginning. I’m sure Valencia will be positive for us.”