Suzuki’s iconic Hayabusa is a staple at the drag strip, and for a good reason. The liter-plus GSX1300R debuted with a bang in 1999, claiming the world’s fastest production motorcycle title by reaching speeds up to 194 mph. Translating to peregrine falcon in English, the Hayabusa lived up to its name, but Suzuki has reined in the package over the model’s 23-year run.
The latest-generation ‘Busa arrived in February, 2022, with Suzuki paying close attention to the platform’s braking system, weight savings, acceleration, and electronics. While the original Hayabusa shifted the superbike paradigm, some Suzuki fanboys and brand critics scoffed at the apparent lack of significant upgrades.
Despite all the noise, the 2022 Hayabusa ushered in a new era for the model, and the House of Hamamatsu was eager to get one in the hands of Suzuki EWC racer and Suzuki MotoGP test rider Sylvain Guintoli. After hoisting the 2021 EWC World Champion, it's safe to say that the French rider deserved a little present from the brand.
Those familiar with Guintoli’s resume should know that he previously competed in MotoGP with the Tech 3 Yamaha squad in 2007 before switching to the Alice Ducati team in 2008. Transitioning into the Superbike World Championship (WSBK) by 2009, Guintoli went on to win the 2014 WSBK title for Aprilia.
The Frenchman returned to MotoGP as a test rider for the revived Suzuki MotoGP project, which he later parlayed into a spot on the Yoshimura Suzuki (SERT) Endurance World Championship (EWC) race team. The factory-backed squad claimed victory at the 2021 24 Hours of Le Mans and Bol d’Or before seizing the 2021 EWC crown.
In 2022, he helped the team repeat at the 24 Hours of Le Mans while remaining at the top of the current EWC standings. Unfortunately, Suzuki’s decision to pull out of endurance racing will disband the team in 2023, so the SERT livery on Guintoli’s Hayabusa holds extra sentimental value. Of course, the accomplished racer pushes the big-bore sportbike to the limit at Donnington Park, proving that he and the ‘Busa still got it.