At the wet Le Mans race in 2007, Chris Vermeulen wrote himself into the MotoGP history books by becoming a race winner, a feat he achieved on the unfancied Suzuki GSV-R.
Chris Vermeulen was able to take his machine to a lofty 6th place in the world championship standings, backing up his Le Mans win with 3 more podiums, showing it was no fluke that the first of the 800cc machines to come out of Hammamatsu were featuring at the front. A 3rd place at Donington Park was followed up with a 2nd place at both Laguna Seca and Misano, and many other top 8 finishes were achieved too.
Suzuki stuck with the V4 formula they had pinned their hopes on since 2002, a DOHC 800cc engine with pneumatic valves creating a solid 220bhp at 17,000rpm. The aim from Suzuki was to create a bike that could ‘achieve the best possible horsepower and reliable high rpm operation, and to provide the riders with user friendly power delivery and predictable engine character.’
Unusually, they stuck with the aluminium frame that had been used on the 2006 bike, just slotting the 800cc engine where there had previously been a 990cc, and chose only to redesign the fairing for better stability at speed.
The Le Mans win was the pinnacle of the V4 Suzuki, and remains its only win to date, as they pulled out of MotoGP in 2011 and would return in 2015 with a new inline-four.
Featured image – www.motogp.com