Suzuki has typically had one of the slower bikes in terms of top speed owing to its engine philosophy of an inline four-cylinder motor compared to the V4 that the likes of Ducati, Honda, Aprilia and KTM run.
But with the ban on engine development brought about by COVID for 2021 lifted over the winter, Suzuki has seemingly made major gains with its top speed.
Suzuki’s Alex Rins topped the speed charts at 355.2km/h in both of Friday’s practice sessions in Qatar, while Joan Mir – who qualified eighth – was the second-fastest bike in qualifying. And on Friday, Rins out-dragged a Ducati down the main straight, further displaying its top speed gains.
Miller, who will start Sunday’s grand prix from fourth, is keen to see how this impacts the GSX-RR in a race situation.
“I wouldn’t say ‘in the back’,” Miller replied when asked what he thought of Suzuki qualifying eighth and 10th with Mir and Rins. “I’m intrigued to see how this new Suzuki performs under race conditions.
“It seems like they’ve gained, what would be in my opinion, 30 horsepower or something like that. It’d have to be because I mean last year Mir got passed by two Ducatis before the finish line.
“And yesterday [Friday] watching the sessions back I saw Rins pass [Fabio] Di Giannantonio before the first corner. They have quite a considerable improvement in terms of power.
Alex Rins, Team Suzuki MotoGP
Photo by: Akhil Puthiyedath
“Suzuki has notably always been quite good on the tyres. Putting an extra 30 horsepower through the tyres, it’ll be interesting to see how that goes.
“Second of all is the consumption: you don’t make a bike faster without putting more fuel in. So, will be interesting to see how they get on.”
Mir noted on Saturday that his poor qualifying was a result of the windier conditions in Q2 but is convinced the GSX-RR has taken a “clear” step forward in time attack mode.