Nobuatsu Aoki’s 1998 RGV500 XR88 Grand Prix motorcycle
With Phil Aynsley
This is the 500cc Suzuki RGV/XR88 that Nobuatsu (Nobby) Aoki raced in the final three races of the 1998 season. His best finish was a fourth in the Madrid GP, with an overall ninth position in the 1998 Grand Prix Motorcycle Road Race Championship.
Suzuki tried several different chassis during the year, this being the final version. Compared to the previous year’s bike, the main motor change was the use of Keihin carburettors rather than Mikunis.
The V4 used twin crankshafts at an 80º angle with both reed and exhaust valves. Output was 180 hp with a wet weight of 135 kg, while top speed was 320 km/h.
This bike was also ridden by Yukio Kagayama in the 1999 All Japan Series.
Suzuki’s RGV500 saw success in the hands of a number of riders, including Kevin Schwantz who claimed the 1993 World Championship, and raced an RGV500 from 1987 through to 1995, with other notable placings including three fourths, a third and a second in the championship during this period.
Daryl Beattie also campaigned an RGV500 to second in the championship in 1995. Beattie was on course to win the 500cc Grand Prix World Championship in 1995, but a crash at Assen proved costly with Mick Doohan going on to claim the crown for Honda.