Former MotoGP rider Nobuatsu Aoki testing the 2014 Suzuki MotoGP prototype.

Suzuki is ramping up testing as it seeks to return to MotoGP in 2014, according to test rider Nobuatsu Aoki, who says the team's new bike is performing better than expected.

Aoki, now 41 and who last raced a full season in 2004, said the Japanese outfit had been testing at Twin Ring Motegi and was planning to head to Barcelona in Spain after the Catalunya Grand Prix in mid-June.

He said: “We are on schedule for 2014. We just launched a new bike last week. It performed quite good, better than I expected.”

Suzuki has been planning a return to the premier-class grid since last year after pulling out at the end of 2011, when it ran just one bike in the competition after going winless since 2007.


However Dorna, which runs MotoGP, has reportedly said the grid is already full and Suzuki must come to an agreement with another outfit if none of the teams pull out for next season.

Aoki said he was unaware of any arrangements being made by Suzuki, but noted that while it would be cheaper to join up with an existing team, the manufacturer would want its own setup.

He said a European rider would be joining the Japanese manufacturer soon but declined to name him.

“Maybe French, maybe Italian, I don't know.” - AFP