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Exclusive MotoGP Season Preview: Is Vinales Ready?

The 2017 racing season gets fully underway this weekend under the lights, in the desert at the Losail Circuit in Qatar, at the first of 18 scheduled MotoGP rounds. After a crazy 2016 season with an unprecedented nine race winners, attention at the top tier of motorcycle racing is steadily building.

Friday, 24 March 2017 11:51 Published in Feature Stories


Doug Lawrence On 2017 National Plans

“It hasn’t really been a long off-season, but it feels like it at times,” explains former Canadian national flat track champion Doug Lawrence, who will make the move to the Pro road race ranks this season aboard a Suzuki GSX-R1000. Lawrence announced his new Suzuki Canada program for the 2017 Mopar Canadian Superbike Championship at the Toronto Motorcycle Show last weekend.

“I’m excited to get a program to ride the new Suzuki GSX-R1000 in 2017,” confirms the man some call ‘Fresh.’ “I’m excited to go road racing, that’s what it comes down to. I’ve had some offers, with different bikes, from great people, and really I’ve just been trying to figure out what could work the best for me. I appreciate all the help from everyone, and I think the Suzuki program is right for me. My aim is to build with that, to get the ball rolling with Suzuki and their return (to Canadian Superbike).

“I’ll get a bike, hopefully, by mid-March, and get it track-ready,” Lawrence continued. “For me, with my level of road racing experience, it’s essential to just get on the track and get riding. I need bodywork and suspension, but that’s really all I will need to get out and start riding. Then I can get going from there, get the feedback for the people who are working with me.

“I think that usually, with Suzuki, things are pretty close to perfect, and this bike has been in development for some time,” says Lawrence about his weapon for 2017. “I’m confident that the new GSX-R1000 will be good.

“People tell me it doesn’t make sense to test on old tires, things like that, and I do understand the advice,” notes Lawrence, whose entry into the Pro SBK ranks is perhaps the most interesting story of the 2017 CSBK preseason. “But I have only ridden a road race bike for seven or eight days in total. I really just need to get some laps in before we really start development, doing race laps, race-distance testing. I just need to get the bike underneath me, really fell it, and go from there. I’d like to ride Grand Bend, Mosport, Shannonville, before those national rounds. I would like to go down south, I have some good connections in Ohio and Michigan. We’ll see what happens.

“I have to manage my plan, not get too overwhelmed with stuff – I have been so excited over the past few months. I need to get one motorcycle ready, and go from there.”

As far as flat track racing goes in 2017, the former No. 1 plateholder is depending on his mechanic and father, Doug Sr, to lead the charge.

“My Dad is excited for me, and wants to see where I’m going. He’s not a huge road racing fan,” Lawrence laughs. “He knows what I have going on, and he wants me to do it. He’s building another flat track bike for me, to ride in the new Twins class in the States.”

However, Lawrence did admit that following the national CSBK tour will curb his Canadian flat track appearances.

“My riding in the Flat Track Canada national series will be restricted. I raced 26 weekends last year, and I got a bit overwhelmed in the last half of the season. My mind was focused on the CSBK round at Mosport (Canadian Tire Motorsport Park) after I started my first national at St-Eustache, and I know my flat track program suffered for that. I’m not committed to too-too much in the States, and fortunately my dad says ‘Hey, we’ve got this bike ready for you whenever you want to go for it and ride.’ 

“Right now, I have a plan for doing the first two American half-miles before the CSBK nationals start, but I have to dedicated my time and mind to the Suzuki program for the CSBK national series. After the final CSBK round at CTMP, there are still four or five American Flat Track races I can get to in the United States. Those eight or so AMA races are at racetracks I want to ride at as well.

“I have some goals in flat track that I want to achieve, and I feel like I can turn up at those races and be right up to speed.”

As far as support is concerned, Lawrence admits that “there is lots of talking going on, and I have been waiting to get the Suzuki deal confirmed. I have supporters and friends who have helped, and I know they are there for me, and now I have to get out there and work on it. I know that we can’t have the big factory deals of 10 or 20 years ago, but I really wanted to do it, to race the CSBK series.”

Lawrence will be visiting several tracks for the first time, including the home of the famed east-coast ‘roller coaster,’ Atlantic Motorsport Park, in Shubenacadie, NS.

“I’m excited to go places like Shubenacadie,” Lawrence states. “During the off-season, I have told people I actually had more fun racing at St-Eustache then I did at Mosport. I’ve been watching videos, and it seems like you have to be really accurate at Atlantic Motorsport Park. You have to minimize mistakes. It’s another track with a lot of character, lots of uphill and downhill. It’s all new to me.

“I think the Shannonville opener will be really tough; lots of the guys in the series grew up riding there. Grand Bend will be more of a level playing field, not too many of the national guys have a lot of laps around there. Mosport is at the end of the year; I like that place. The speed is a little higher than flat track, and it’s really flowing, but the track is in some ways forgiving. By that time, I aim to be up to speed with the faster group, and I’m comfortable with the drafting.

“I don’t have any specific goals in terms of finishing positions,” Lawrence humbly admits. “I’m more concerned with getting comfortable on the bike, be able to adapt to riding in the Pro ranks on a big bike. The Brooklin Cycle Racing Pro Rookie of the Year is a goal, but that isn’t my only target. I want to do better in every race. I have to wipe the slate clean after every race, good or bad. It’s a rebuilding process and there is a new race track at the next round. I can’t get too high, can’t get too low.

“I’ve been through all of these things in my flat track career,” summarized Canada’s newest Pro Superbike racer. It’s a different discipline, but it’s still racing a motorcycle.”

Saturday, 25 February 2017 08:57 Published in News


Latest issue ON SALE NOW!

Whether you like Harleys, scramblers, naked middleweights or racing, you're going to find something you'll love in the December issue of Inside Motorcycles, on newsstands now and hitting subscriber mailboxes across the country!

Monday, 28 November 2016 13:05 Published in Current Issue


Ethan Barkley claims 16th CMDRA national championship

Ethan Barkley had to remain focused on performing well at the final event of the season if he wanted to take home the CMDRA Pro Street No. 1 plate. Leaving nothing to chance, a complete teardown of his turbocharged Suzuki GSX-R1000 "Eleanor" was completed prior to arriving at Mission Raceway Park for the 2016 CMDRA season finals.

Thursday, 06 October 2016 15:42 Published in Reports, Results & Points


Suzuki Unveils Five New Machines At INTERMOT

@suzukicycles • #INTERMOT2016 •Cologne (October 4, 2016)- Suzuki Motor Corporation today unveiled five new 2017 models at the INTERMOT International Motorcycle, Scooter and Bicycle Fair in Cologne, Germany.

Tuesday, 04 October 2016 19:01 Published in Industry News


Hayden Edges Hayes In New Jersey Thriller

Yoshimura Suzuki’s Roger Hayden won a close one at New Jersey Motorsport Park, holding off the Monster/Graves Yamaha of four-time Champ Josh Hayes on the last lap to win the penultimate Superbike race of the 2016 MotoAmerica Championship Series.

These two battled throughout the 25 lap event, joined early by reigning Champ and Superbike points leader Cameron Beaubier on the second works Yamaha YZF-R1.  Late in the race, Spanish ace Toni Elias caught up to the leading trio, and Beaubier eased off to guarantee a solid finish in fourth.  Beaubier leads Hayes by 22 points with just one race, later this afternoon, left to run.

Elias didn’t have quiet enough time to join the fight for first, a tight battle that went right to the finish line.

“I did think a win was a possibility, I had the pace in Q but I crashed,” explained Hayden of his troubles on Saturday.  “I’ve been workin’ hard and I’ve been trying to win those races that I am close in.  I went out this morning on an old tire and felt I had the pace.”

“I tried to lead more, still wasn’t sure if I had the pace.  On the last lap, I didn’t know if I would make turn one, I had things locked up!  I’m rally happy for the team; we’ve been so close so many times.  I’ve been racing Josh my whole career and he always get the best of me, so that was really good.  I know Josh hates loosing, Toni too, so I expect it to be even harder in the next race.”

The title is a long shot for Hayes, but the second-in-points racer is still working for another Championship number one plate.

“I really hoped our good pace at the start would break things up a little bit, but we all stayed close,” explained Hayes of his early race lead over Hayden.

“Then Cam (Beaubier) got by and I let him try to see if he had the pace, but he didn’t.  That let Roger get away, and I was mad at myself, thought maybe I could take advantage, but that didn’t work.”

At the start of the last lap Hayes “was getting a good run, gave it the best run that I can, made a few mistakes – I don’t think it woulda mattered, so I have to take second.  I think I learned a lot and that will really help in race two. I have one goal today, and I’m not going to be very nice – I have one plan to try for the Championship.”

“They were running fast from the start and they were gone,” explained Elias.  “Then I started to make up, and then at the end I arrive for the last few laps.  I’m waiting for the second race, I’m feeling really good and we are recovered from yesterday.”

Fifth went to the Kawasaki of Bobby Fong, also first overall in the less-modified Superstock class.  Jake Gagne placed sixth overall, in his Superbike class Yamaha, while seventh overall and second in Superstock belonged to South African Matthew Scholtz on his Westby Yamaha.

Sunday, 11 September 2016 14:03 Published in News


Team Suzuki Ecstar Continue Evaluation at Sepang

@MotoGP •@SUZUKIECSTAR •(February 2, 2016)- Team SUZUKI ECSTAR has spent the second day of MotoGP™ testing at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia evaluating several new parts and settings from the R&D department in Hamamatsu, Japan.

Tuesday, 02 February 2016 12:27 Published in Reports, Results & Points


Suzuki Introduces New 2016 SV650‏

@suzukicycles • In 1999, Suzuki released the original SV650. The motorcycle was designed to deliver fun of V-twin sport riding for all riders. The SV650 instantly became a rider’s phenomenon around the world. Not only was this universal motorcycle well-suited for streets but it was right at home on the racetrack too.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015 11:41 Published in Products


Canadian champ Kenny Riedmann makes strong Bold D’Or Debut

@cdnsuperbike v @KennyRiedmann42 •  Canadian Kenny Riedmann did more than just survive the79th running of the Bol D’Or 24 hour classic endurance event, held at Circuit Paul Richard in the South of France last weekend, September 19 and 20.

Thursday, 24 September 2015 10:57 Published in Reports, Results & Points


Suzuki unveils its MotoGP team name as Team SUZUKI ECSTAR

March 6, 2015- Suzuki Motor Corporation has unveiled its MotoGP team name as Team SUZUKI ECSTAR. Suzuki will come back to the MotoGP class of the world's top motorcycle racing series, the FIM Road Racing Grand Prix (MotoGP), from 2015. The 2015 season will start from the Qatar GP, which will hold its race on 29 March, 2015.

Friday, 06 March 2015 10:29 Published in News


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