The name Hayabusa translates directly from the Japanese as Peregrine Falcon, the bird said to be capable of speeds of over 200 mph (322 km/h) — and predator of (perhaps not coincidently) the common blackbird. The name is a subtle reference to Honda's competing Hawk models. When introduced in 1999, it overtook the Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbird as the fastest production motorcycle. The first generation of the Hayabusa was called the GSX1300R and was powered by a 1299 cc (79.2 cu in) inline-4 liquid-cooled engine. It remained substantially unchanged up through the 2007 model year.
The motorcycle in stock form was capable of the following performance:
- 1/4 mile (402 m): 10.02 seconds @ 143.7 mph (231 km/h)
- 60–80 mph: 3.13 seconds
- 80–100 mph: 3.31 seconds
- Top speed: 189.6 mph (305 km/h)
- Power: 156.1 hp (116.4 kW) @ 9,500 rpm (rear wheel)
Competition in the hyper sport bike segment increased with the release of motorcycles like the BMW K1200S, Kawasaki Ninja ZX-12R, and Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14. This increased competition led to Suzuki heavily revising the GSX1300R for the 2008 model year. Suzuki has dropped the GSX1300R designation in some countries and simply called the motorcycle the Hayabusa. The engine size was increased to 1340 cc (81.7 cu in) with the compression ratio increasing to 12.5:1. The revised engine has a claimed 12% increase in power to 194 hp (145 kW).
Fuel is now fed through a pair of new 44 mm (1.7 in) Suzuki Dual Throttle Valve (SDTV) throttle bodies. The Suzuki Drive Mode Selector (S-DMS), a technology introduced on the GSX-R line of motorcycles, provides three options of power delivery for a range of touring to wide open high performance. Some of the more notable features include a new 4-2-1-2 exhaust system meets Euro 3 and EPA Tier 2 emission regulations, a slipper clutch, and redesigned bodywork..
The motorcycle in stock form is capable of the following performance:
- 1/4 mile (402 m): 9.62 seconds @ 149.7 mph (241 km/h)
- 0–60 mph: 2.60 seconds
- 0–180 mph: 15.9 seconds
- Top speed: 186 mph (299 km/h)electronically restricted
After its introduction, the major Japanese motorcycle manufacturers realized that the power and speed wars among flagship sport bikes would not end and would eventually lead to increased government regulation. For the model years 2001 to 2008, a timing retard was added in 6th gear, as well as an earlier rev limiter (10200 RPM V.S. 11000 RPM). This limited the top speed from the 1999/2000 model's 198 mph (319 km/h) to a new maximum of 186 mph (299 km/h).
From its debut in 1999 to June 2007 over 100,000 Hayabusas were sold worldwide. In the United States during the year 2005 over 10,000 units were sold. For 2006 in the US sales of the Hayabusa were twice that of the Kawasaki ZX-14, which was being released that year.  And again for the year over 10,000 units were sold in the US.
Overall, sales in the US have increased year after year since its release in 1999 until 2006 and went from just a few thousand units in 1999 to over 10,000 in 2006. Worldwide yearly sales statistics are not known.
The high-powered lightweight engine in the Hayabusa lends itself to non-motorcycle applications. The Westfield Megabusa is an English sports car, based on the Lotus Seven, which uses the Hayabusa engine. The engine has also been used in Smart two-seater city cars (Smart Diablo), although these have only been experimental conversions, not production models.