Rizla Suzuki team manager, Paul Denning, is hoping that the new-for-2007 800cc rules will help shake up the established order in MotoGP - but expects Honda to start with some form of advantage after "pretty much writing the regulations".
2006 will mark the final season of 990cc four-stroke engine capacity, which was introduced in 2002 to replace 500cc two-stroke machinery. However, only three manufacturers - Honda, Yamaha and Ducati - have won MotoGP races since then, so will the 800cc rules provide a chance for Suzuki, world champions in 500cc, to bridge the gap?
"Yeah I think Suzuki would agree with that, because it is a new opportunity," Denning told Crash.net. "Honda will be well ahead - in that they pretty much wrote the regulations - so they will have had a bike ready to go when it first was discussed. But aside from that, I think everyone is pretty much in the same boat.
"There will be different technical solutions in terms of cylinder layout and configurations. So it's going to be interesting. I just hope that the 2007 season doesn't start with a situation where one manufacturer has a massive advantage over the others. I think with the technology involved now, my guess is it'll be pretty similar," he added.
Denning was also asked specifically about the development of Suzuki's 800cc racer - and if technology for the machine would be gradually 'phased in' on the 990cc bike, as raced this season by John Hopkins and Chris Vermeulen:
"Potentially yeah. There are certain technical aspects of Suzuki's bike this year which will definitely be used in the 800," the Briton confirmed. "The 800cc bike will hit the track, in prototype form, in Japan in probably June/July and then the grand prix riders will probably first run it in September or so.
"Both riders have two-year contracts, so we're looking for continuity and to develop the 800 as strongly as we can towards the end of this year. Basically, we'll use a fair bit of this year's machine but with obviously some fundamental differences in terms of weight, overall character and the way the bike works," Denning concluded