WORDS BY ADAM PROUD | IMAGES BY SUZUKI
It can’t be true can it? Suzuki leaving MotoGP? In news that shook the MotoGP world, it was widely reported last week that Suzuki is set to make a shock departure from the grid at the end of 2022.
It’s yet to be officially confirmed by Suzuki, but it’s come to light that a decision was made in Japan to pull the plug on what has so far been a successful return to the premier class. But what's most surprising is the unexpected timing and nature of the news, given in April last year, the team had committed to MotoGP until 2026 at the earliest.
Suzuki is yet to respond to the rumours, but Dorna were quick to address the situation. A statement released by the promoter sent a strong message that they would not be taking the decision lightly should it be confirmed by Suzuki in the coming days.
“Following recent rumours of Suzuki departing MotoGP at the end of 2022, Dorna Sports has officially contacted the factory in order to remind them that the conditions of their contract to race in MotoGP do not allow for them to take this decision unilaterally,” the statement read.
“However, should Suzuki depart following an agreement between both parties, Dorna will decide on the ideal number of riders and teams racing in the MotoGP class from 2023.”
The statement ended with confirmation that a number of parties are interested in occupying a grid-slot should Suzuki leave.
But the implications of this move will leave many unemployed, a manufacturer off the grid, and two riders in Joan Mir and Alex Rins looking for a seat.
MotoGP’s ‘silly season’ was looking relatively calm this year, but now everything has been thrown up in the air as two of the grid's most talented riders find themselves potentially without a ride for next year.
Mir’s concerns could be solved relatively quickly. It’s expected that he will switch to the factory Honda alongside Marc Marquez, replacing Pol Espargaro who has struggled to get to grips with the RC213V.
Rins, on the other hand, will be contacting teams with the hope that one will take him on. A seat on the WithU Yamaha looks a likely option for the Spaniard, but the 26-year-olds spot on the grid looks at a higher risk right now compared to his teammate.
The Suzuki board will no doubt have its own reasons for pulling out of the championship, but it leaves devastation in its wake, and the way it has been handled leaves a lot to be desired.
It’s not just riders and managers affected by this. It’s also every mechanic, engineer, and non-race staff who could be losing their job, without any confirmation or explanation.
All eyes are on Suzuki to see what their next move is, but while all signs point towards the certainty that they will be leaving the grid come the end of this year, it’s now time for them to remove their heads from the sand and publicly declare what’s going to happen moving forward.
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