Eskil Suter claims his company’s MMX 500 two-stroke would be around tenth place, with the right rider, if it went up against the current grid of MotoGP machines.
Rule changes saw four-strokes enter the premier-class in 2002. The bigger capacity bikes soon dominated the results and filled the grid from the following year. But despite the outright performance and technical superiority of the MotoGP prototypes, many still miss the purity of the extinct 500s.
Enter Eskil Suter, whose company has built chassis for all three of the current grand prix classes. The Swiss ex-racer designed a modern version of the 500, featuring a 576cc V4 engine, producing 195hp at a weight of 127kg and estimated top speed of 310km/h (193mph).
The bike, which also boasts electronic fuel injection and counter-rotating crankshaft, is available to buy for 120,000 Euros. According to Suter, advances in technology mean it is probably quicker than the legendary machines it was built to imitate.
“What you get is pretty much a factory machine,” Suter told Crash.net . “20 years ago a machine like that could cost millions, it’s all hand built of titanium, some parts hand cast and manually machined.
“It’s a bespoke factory bike, in fact I believe that it’s even faster than those GP two-strokes.
“It’s got 195hp, but the friendly torque curve in combination with the modern chassis and tyres means that if you put an experienced rider on it he could probably match MotoGP times, maybe P10.
“When I was riding it at Jerez I was only about 4.9 seconds off Rossi’s 500 lap record and I’m 50 years old and 50kg too heavy. I think if you put Marquez on it he’d do a 1m 39, but I’m sure that Honda wouldn’t allow that…”
Rossi’s 2001 500cc lap record was a 1m 42.421s lap, while a low 1m 39s would have been good enough for ninth on the grid at the recent Spanish MotoGP.
“It’s a really beautiful bike,” said Suter, explaining the background to the machine, which also competed in last year’s Isle of Man TT. “In 2010 we were sitting around wondering which direction to go in and I still had quite a lot of two-stroke technology from my racing career lying around. We had a chassis and all the bits and pieces and really all we had to do was to make an engine.