On the wonderful http://www.iom1960.com/ website of former Suzuki engineer Hiroyuki Nakano, there's a page dedicated to Ernst Degner and the two-stroke technology transfer from East Germany to Japan, relevant to the recent "douchebag" discussion here on this forum. Machine translated, here are a few salient points from the article:
What Degner brought to Suzuki
Ernst Degner (East Germany) was the ace of the East German MZ team, but immediately after the 1961 Swedish Grand Prix, he defected to West Germany (September 17) and joined the Suzuki team (November 1). In 1961, Suzuki's racers continued to have troubles, but Suzuki won the 50cc class title in 1962.
For this reason, an article in Cycle Sounds magazine 2003-2 also states that "Degner designed Suzuki's 50cc, 125cc and 250cc machines." Also, more recently, THE BIGGEST SPY SCANDAL IN MOTORSPORT HISTORY (by Mat Oxley, Haynes 2009) proposes the theory that "Degner brought the secrets of the MZ to Suzuki, and as a result, Suzuki was able to win."
However, despite the fact that Degner came to Japan on November 1, 1962, the 125cc single-cylinder RT62 and the 50cc single-cylinder RM (which are said to have been Degner's brainchild in the book) already existed, and it is ignored that it was difficult for Degner to be involved in the layout and design of these engines. [picture refernce:] On the right is the RT62 exhibited at the 1961 Tokyo Motor Show (October 25 ~ November 7).
- Did no one at the time think anything when they saw the exhaust pipe of the MZ?
- Why was the 1962 50cc RM62 slow at the start of the season and fast after the improved engine was sent to the Isle of Man? Who designed and built the improved engine and exhaust pipe? Could it be that Degner was in Europe and designed and built an improved exhaust pipe?
- Why did Yamaha become faster? Could it be that Suzuki told Yamaha the "secret that Degner brought in"?
If you look at it this way, these "journalists" [are] weak in logical thinking. It seems that having a fatal weakness leads to the Degner theory as mentioned at the beginning.
According to Hiroyuki Nakano, an engineer at Suzuki on the other side, "The Dawn of Japan Motorcycle Racing," Degner's influence on Suzuki is as follows:
"The Wright brothers proved that mankind's long-held dream of flying freely in the skies was possible with the help of 20th-century industrial technology. ~It takes a lot of effort and energy to challenge something that may be impossible and search for an answer. This is because endless efforts must be repeated in order to prove that it is possible. If there is no answer, everything will be in vain. However, once it is found that it is possible, industrial technology can be developed as rapidly as if a dam had been cut. The first is that, as stated at the beginning of this section (the sentence above), we have been slow to realize that the achievements of industrial technology are much easier to catch up with those who come after us than our predecessors think. Regardless of patents, pioneers must look to the future and develop technologies one after another, and always maintain an advantage over their successors. If you don't make that effort, you will soon be caught up and overtaken.
(...) It was about 2.5 months from the date of Degner's second visit to the date of his departure, and it seems that Degner's involvement in the development and results during this time was limited to the know-how of finishing and assembling parts as far as the engine itself was concerned. [H]e may have advised on matters that directly affect engine output, such as cylinder port geometry, rotary valve timing, exhaust pipe specifications, etc., but these did not directly lead to results.
There are also some photographs showing that, in 1961 already, EMC had copied the MZ exhaust faithfully, while Suzuki introduced a new shape in 1962, which by 1964 was copied by none other than MZ!
But the really important takeaway for me is, if Suzuki 'stole' the MZ 'secrets', why is it that Yamaha also went faster? No amount of 'logic' can explain that!