Suzuki partners with Yoshimura R&D to develop racing modifications for Team Suzuki, as well as performance kits for the local market. In photo (L-R): Noel Villapando,Ivan Santiago, Johnlery Enriquez; Masanori Ueno, general manager, Yoshimura Japan Co. Ltd.; Satoshi Uchida, president, Suzuki Philippines Inc.; Takayuki Hirokawa, manager, technical department, Yoshimura Motorcycle Research & Development; Paul Mark Doblada; Joselito Alontaga, Suzuki team manager; and Mel Aquino, team manager
Suzuki Philippines, Inc. recently announced a landmark partnership with Yoshimura Japan Co. Ltd., one of the world's largest after-market performance parts manufacturer. According to Suzuki president Satoshi Uchida, "Our collaboration will be on two levels. First, Yoshimura will develop performance kits for Suzuki motorcycles for introduction in the Philippine market. Second, Yoshimura will provide technical support and develop racing modifications for our Suzuki racing team."
Explaining the significance of the venture, Masanori Ueno, general manager for Yoshimura motorcycle research and development, noted: “Traditionally, Yoshimura performance products are available only for big bikes. However, with the urging of Suzuki Philippines, we were encouraged to develop performance parts for smaller bikes. We also hope that with our success in the Philippine motorcycle market, we will be able to expand to other countries in the ASEAN region.”
Initially, a Japan-manufactured Yoshimura performance kit consisting of exhaust pipe, camshaft and racing gasket will be available for the Suzuki Raider R150 by end of May 2009. Aside from enhancing the bike’s sporty looks, the kit is also expected to provide a performance boost as technical tests show that maximum power is maintained at higher rpm. No price points have been announced, but Suzuki’s Uchida promises that it will be surprisingly affordable.
With the Suzuki Racing Team, the Yoshimura tie-up will consist of modifications to the racing bikes, training for the local service crew, as well as technical consultation and advice. According to Takayuki Hirokawa, Yoshimura technical department manager, “We will be working on total modification of the Suzuki racing bikes, including such details as engine set-up/tune-up
, suspension adjustment, and other necessary adjustments.”
The first Yoshimura-tuned bike, a Suzuki Raider R150, is expected to debut during the thirdleg of the Underbone King Championship at the Batangas Racing Circuit on June 21, 2009.
For the 2009 season, the Suzuki Racing Team is fielding three models — the Suzuki Step 125, Suzuki Smash, and Suzuki Raider R150. Team Suzuki riders Johnlery Enriquez, Paul Mark Doblada, Ivan Santiago will be competing in the Automatic, Sports Production, and Open150 category.
Signaling its strong technical focus, Suzuki R&D engineer Lito Alontaga was recently appointed as Suzuki team manager, and he notes: “The partnership with Yoshimura has lifted team morale, and we definitely have very high expectations. We expect this year to be a learning season which will allow us to tune our racing bikes and develop racing parts with the Yoshimura R&D team. Hopefully, this will start translating into a championship by next year.”
Suzuki is one of the country's largest manufacturer and distributor of motorcycles. A wholly-owned subsidiary of Suzuki Motor Company Ltd. of Japan, Suzuki Philippines takes pride in its motorcycle line-up for leisure, sports or business. Suzuki motorcycles are carried by forty 3S (Sales, Service, Spare Parts) shops nationwide, offering one-stop sales and service support for its valued customers. For more information, visit www.suzuki.com.ph.
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