• Roger Hayden To Ride Commemorative GSX-R1000 At The Indianapolis Grand Prix

American rider Roger Hayden will be in attendance at the 2015 Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix with a special Suzuki GSX-R decked out in a special livery to commemorate the bike’s 30th anniversary. It’s going to be a big weekend for the GSX-R and Suzuki is making sure that the bike gets the attention it deserves.

As such, Hayden will be riding a GSX-R1000 that’s been dressed up in the red and black colors that adorned Kevin Schwantz’s bike when it made its debut at the AMA Superbike round in Yoshimura, Japan back in 1986. Hayden himself will be dressed for the occasion, which in this case is a custom-commemorative race suit that’s consistent with what his Yoshimura Superbike crew will wear. Heck, even the tire warmers will carry the same tribute livery for one of the most important race bikes to compete in the US.

All together, Hayden and his entire crew will use the weekend to celebrate a momentous occasion in Suzuki’s long and storied motor racing history. The team will be competing in the Indy MotoAmerica Superbike race, determined, I think, to win it for the Suzuki GSX-R1000. That would be a fine tribute to the bike. It’s fitting, too, since the GSX-R holds the record as the all-time wins leader in AMA Superbike history. More importantly, it’s also the same bike that’s largely credited for being the first of its kind to bring cutting edge Grand Prix design and technology to the public roads.

Anybody who knows about the history of motorcycle racing in the US still hold reverence to the success that’s been credited to the GSX-R. So as Suzuki celebrates the bike’s 30th anniversary, there’s no better way to pay homage to one of the finest machines the AMA Superbike has ever seen than by celebrating its anniversary in the Brickyard, long considered as America’s most hallowed racing ground.

Continue reading to read more about Suzuki’s 30th anniversary plans for the GSX-R.

Why it matters

The Suzuki GSX-R is one of the most underrated racing bikes in history. That’s largely attributed to its age since a lot of riders these days are not as familiar with the GSX-R’s history compared to its more recent contemporaries. The truth is, the GSX-R was a pioneer and a trailblazer.

When the first GSX-R hit the market in 1985, it represented a breakthrough from any of the four Japanese manufacturers - Yamaha, Honda, Suzuki, and Kawasaki - as the first among a long line of “race bikes with lights” that changed the industry to what it is now.

The GSX-R’s contributions to the evolution of the modern-day race bike is another big reason why Suzuki is going to painstaking lengths to celebrate the bike’s 30th anniversary.

Having Roger Hayden ride the commemorative GSX-R1000 race bike while decked with the anniversary livery is a tremendous way for the Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing team to extend some kind of flair and pizzazz to the MotoAmerica Superbike race. I’ll definitely have my eyes on this race because I want to see how Hayden performs in the race with the anniversary GSX-R1000. Wouldn’t it be great if the American rider wins the race for Suzuki? That would serve as the perfect homage to a bike that paved the way for so many others of its kind.

Kirby Garlitos
Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert - kirby@topspeed.com
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read full bio
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Press Release

Roger Hayden will roll-out a special livery at the Red Bull Indianapolis combined MotoGP/ MotoAmerica event on August 7-9th at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in America.

The special red and black livery will commemorate the colour scheme sported by former Grand Prix World Champion Kevin Schwantz when he debuted the now-legendary Suzuki GSX-R750 in AMA Superbikes with Yoshimura in 1986.

In addition to the motorcycle sporting the signature colours of the ’86 Schwantz version, Hayden’s leathers will be a custom-commemorative set and his Yoshimura Superbike crew will be wearing red-themed gear; and even the Suzuki GSX-R1000 tyre warmers will match.

“We’re excited to be able to do our part to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the GSX-R,” said Don Sakakura, Sr. Vice President at Yoshimura R&D of America. “We at Yoshimura are very pleased that we played a part in launching the GSX-R line in America in 1986 with Kevin Schwantz as our primary rider. And of course we’re proud that the GSX-R went on to become the all-time wins leader in AMA Superbike. We’re looking forward to introducing the anniversary livery with Roger Hayden and the team at Indianapolis. It’s only appropriate that such an iconic motorcycle be honoured at one of the truly iconic racing circuits of the world.”

The Suzuki GSX-R line was launched in 1985 for most of the world, but America had to wait until 1986 to get its hands on the bike. The GSX-R is widely considered the first sport bike to truly bring Grand Prix design features to the street. Over its three-decade span, Suzuki’s GSX-R line of motorcycles has become one of the most successful and well-known sporting machines in the history of motorcycling.

In America the GSX-R series went on to become the most successful machine in AMA Superbike and Supersport racing with more championships and race wins than any other model of motorcycle. On the club level, the GSX-R helped launch the road racing careers of a generation of riders. Counting the original Suzuki GS series a total of 13 AMA Superbike Championships have been won by riders on Suzukis prepared by Yoshimura R&D.

Says Schwantz: “I first rode the GSX-R in 1985 at the Suzuka 8-Hour with Graeme Crosby. We didn’t get the Suzuki GSX-Rs in the United States until ‘86 but raced them in American Superbikes in ‘86 and ‘87. I won the Daytona 200 on a Suzuki GSX-R in 1988 and continued to race the 8-Hour all the way through to the 1992 season. The Suzuki GSX-R to me is the definition of a sport bike. When the GSX-R came out it completely changed the definition of a sports bike and it has continued to improve ever since.”

Hayden will also race the special 30th Anniversary colors in the 2015 MotoAmerica finale at New Jersey Motorsport Park in Millville on September 11-13th.

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