IT IS OFFICIAL: Suzuki confirms plans to quit MotoGP at the end of 2022  

The official confirmation of Suzuki’s exit has finally arrived… a whole ten days after the media broke the news. This Thursday, the team has issued a statement announcing its intention to leave the MotoGP World Championship at the end of this season. The text confirms financial pressures are behind the Japanese team’s decision, which is irrevocable. 

It has also transpired that the Hamamatsu’s firm initially intended to announce its exit 24 hours after the explosive news hit the headlines on May 2. The response from Dorna, however, reminding them that they can not unilaterally leave the contest, put a brake on any official statement. Not in vain, they were ‘reminded’ of the existence of a clause which hands a hefty economic penalty should a team decide to leave without having reached an agreement with the organisers first. 

These circumstances delayed the release of any formal statement until the eve of the French GP, which is taking place this weekend at Le Mans. It was precisely the imminence of the French round that increased the pressure on all parties involved to clarify the situation. 

With the likelihood of a sanction hanging over them, their statement uses a very diplomatic tone and emphasises their very intention to reach an amicable agreement with Dorna. Of course, both parties would want to negotiate a solution that has the smallest impact possible on their image.


Financial pressures following the COVID pandemic and the war in Ukraine 

As per their statement, the reasons behind their exit are financial as well as a result of the need to change their technological strategy. It seems that the current international situation, with the financial uncertainty that followed the COVID pandemic aggravated by the war in Ukraine, has hit the coffers of the Japanese team hard. 

Suzuki Motor Corporation is in discussions with Dorna regarding the possibility of ending its participation in MotoGP at the end of 2022. Unfortunately, the current economic situation and the need to concentrate its effort on the big changes that the automotive world is facing in these years, are forcing Suzuki to shift costs and human resources to develop new technologies” – The statement read-. 

In any case, the sudden exit of Suzuki is a hard blow for MotoGP. The loss of one of its historical manufacturers deteriorates its prestige and reduces the quality of the competition. Let’s not forget that Suzuki crowned Joan Mir as the 2020 World Champion, and is currently leading the team standings. 

These successes, however, have not been enough to stop the Asian team from packing up and go. This is not the first time they do something like this though. In 2011 after completing 37 campaigns in the World Championship, and despite having won several titles – Kevin Schwantz or Kenny Roberts Jr. in 2000 – they returned to Japan. 


 A crew without a job 

In shock by the news, which hit the paddock like a ton of bricks, the Suzuki MotoGP crew (45 employees) will have to look for a new job when their contract ends at the end of the season. Among those left unemployed are obviously the team’s two pilots. Initial speculations talk of Joan Mir possibly joining Marc Márquez from 2023 in replacement of Pol Espargaró. Less clear is the fate of Álex Rins, currently linked to Aprilia. 

The contract of team manager, Livio Suppo, who came into the team two months ago with a two-year contract to replace Davide Brivio – signed by the Formula 1 team Alpine – is now waiting to be resolved. 

Images of Suzuki: Suzuki Official Twitter.


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