OK, it's time to stop beating around the proverbial bush: Suzuki has all but committed to a factory return to MotoGP in 2014, with the revelation that the Japanese manufacturer will test its 1000cc GSX-R prototype five times in Europe this summer and fall.
British media reported Suzuki will test against its MotoGP factory rivals Ducati, Honda and Yamaha in mid-June at Catalunya, in September at Misano and at the postseason test at Valencia immediately after the season finale in November. Suzuki also plans private tests at Aragon and Mugello.
Former racer Nobuatsu Aoki is leading the testing and development of Suzuki's bike. He rode the latest-generation 1000cc GSX-R for the first time last week in Japan.
"The feeling from this bike was brilliant, the engine performance was good, and the chassis feeling was great," Aoki said to British media. "For sure, there are a lot of things to improve, but the basic package is very good.
"I was a little bit worried because they made a lot of design changes, and sometimes this can be a problem. But they made a great job, and I was really surprised."
Aoki and an unnamed European rider will handle testing this year for Suzuki. No official announcement on that rider has come from the factory, but all signs point to Aspar CRT and former Kawasaki factory rider Randy de Puniet as the man for the job.