NHRA Approves Gen 3 Suzuki Hayabusa Bodywork for Pro Stock Motorcycle

Eddie Krawiec tests unadorned Gen 3 Suzuki Hayabusa bodywork at Gainesville Raceway - photo courtesy Suzuki
Eddie Krawiec tests unadorned Gen 3 Suzuki Hayabusa bodywork at Gainesville Raceway – photo courtesy Suzuki

No matter how much power an NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series Pro Stock Motorcycle can make, it’s either assisted or held back by the bodywork that surrounds the mechanicals. Suzuki riders have been successful in the class despite having bodywork – surrounding an ever-more-powerful power mill – that hasn’t been updated in more than a decade.

That changed with a recent, successful test session observed by NHRA’s technical department. Vance & Hines’ Pro Stock Motorcycle team completed a two-day pre-season test, February 1-2, on the dragstrip at Gainesville Raceway, site of the first race of the season, March 9-12. This was Gaige Herrera’s first official test with the Vance & Hines team, where he worked with new V&H teammate and four-time Pro Stock Motorcycle champion Eddie Krawiec.

The duo worked on setup parameters for their Suzuki Hayabusa race bikes and reported the Gen 3 Hayabusa bodywork was impressive. They were able to perform multiple passes at more than 200mph and achieved their goal of producing a stable, race-ready design that can be used by the Suzuki camp as they attempt to stop Buell rider Matt Smith from taking a seventh title in the class.

“This was a great week for our team,” noted six-time NHRA PSM champ Andrew Hines, who now serves as crew chief for the two Vance & Hines riders. “Working with Gaige and Eddie, seeing how well our bikes performed, and now receiving approval from the NHRA, everything is coming together for this season.”

Suzuki, as a manufacturer, sat on the sidelines for a few years, even as its elderly bodywork and updated engines were still able to perform well. It was difficult for the manufacturer to watch first Harley-Davidson and then Buell take championships in Pro Stock Motorcycle where Suzuki once held sway. “One of our objectives with our return to NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle drag racing, was to develop an all-new body modeled after the [production] Gen 3 Hayabusa,” noted Kerry Graeber, Suzuki Motor USA’s senior vice president. 

“Vance & Hines has done a terrific job with the new body and we’re pleased that it performed so well at its first test. Our vision is for all competitors racing Suzuki motorcycles in the NHRA [Camping World Drag Racing] series to transition to the new body.” Graeber confirmed that Suzuki will offer assistance to teams riding Suzuki PSM bikes to move to the new body.

This is actually not the first Hayabusa bodywork produced for PSM. Steve Tartaglia of Don Schumacher Racing worked on a new body for the motorcycles formerly campaigned by Antron Brown and Angelle Sampey, when DSR was competing in the class more than 15 years ago. 

The new Gen 3 Hayabusa’s carbon fiber bodywork components were designed by Vance & Hines in collaboration with ADC Inc., utilizing digital scans of a new production Hayabusa motorcycle. The intent, in which the collaboration found success, was to closely resemble the look of the production Hayabusa while accommodating a 10-inch-wide rear tire and a wheelbase that is ten inches longer than stock.

Identifying features of the new Gen 3 Hayabusa Pro Stock Motorcycle that will be seen – with proper graphics, of course – on at least the two V&H motorcycles, includes symmetrical bodywork, so that air flow on each side of the motorcycle is aerodynamically balanced to give it symmetry side to side. This allows the rider to guide the motorcycle with lessened physical input The rider cockpit has been designed to accommodate a wider variety of riders, allowing proper fitment for both small and large stature riders. Additionally, rider ergonomics, the interaction of rider and controls, has improved, aiding comfort and ease of use while riding.

NHRA’s strict processes for approving new bodywork was observed throughout the adoption of the Gen 3 Hayabusa bodywork for this year’s Suzuki riders; Vance & Hines worked closely with the sanctioning body and with Suzuki on both development and approval of the new design. With NHRAs recent approval, Vance & Hines is working with Leading Edge Composites of Coatesville, PA for production of the final Gen 3 carbon fiber panels. 

This bodywork will be available to all Suzuki- riding teams through Vance & Hines. Thus far, Reed Motorsports, with riders Cory Reed and Joey Gladstone, who finished second, 82 points behind Smith in last year’s standings, has placed orders for the Gen 3 Hayabusa Pro Stock bodywork.

About Anne Proffit 1264 Articles
Anne Proffit traces her love of racing - in particular drag racing - to her childhood days in Philadelphia, where Atco Dragway, Englishtown and Maple Grove Raceway were destinations just made for her. As a diversion, she was the first editor of IMSA’s Arrow newsletter, and now writes about and photographs sports cars, Indy cars, Formula 1, MotoGP, NASCAR, Formula Drift, Red Bull Global Rallycross - in addition to her first love of NHRA drag racing. A specialty is a particular admiration for the people that build and tune drag racing engines.

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