The surprising reason behind Suzuki’s sudden exit from MotoGP

An important lead has been recently revealed that could shed some light on Suzuki’s sudden exit from MotoGP. News giant Reuters has now confirmed that the police conducted a search of Suzuki’s headquarters in Germany on April 27. 

According to the German authorities, the action came as a result of the firm being accused of tampering with the emissions readings of their vehicles. It seems that we could be standing before another ‘diesel gate’ case, similar to the one involving several car manufacturers a few years ago. 

In this judicial context, prosecutors have confirmed that they are investigating a number of individuals within the Japanese brand, who would have been allegedly responsible for the use of illegal deactivation devices. These devices give a false, lower reading of the vehicle’s emissions during the relevant tests. 

Suzuki’s offices in Hungary and Italy have also been inspected alongside their German facilities, as part of a coordinated action by Eurojust. If those allegations are finally found to be true by the European criminal justice system, Suzuki could face millions in penalties and incalculable reputational damage. 


The news has sent shockwaves through MotoGP 

Under the circumstances, it might have been the pressure which drove the directors of the Japanese team to quit MotoGP just five days after the police search. The resolution was communicated to the team during a meeting at the Jerez Circuit following last Monday’s tests. There was no going back, they would leave the MotoGP World Championship at the end of this season. 

The decision caused a real earthquake in the paddock but, surprisingly, and after the informational tsunami had passed, Suzuki remained silent. Considering the gravity of the events, everyone was expecting a statement from the Japanese team clarifying the situation.

The reaction of the World Championship promoter company (CEO, Carmelo Ezpeleta), however, came just 24 hours later and was firm and unequivocal. Dorna Sports‘ public note warned Suzuki that they could not unilaterally leave MotoGP. Maybe things now start to fall into place.

In any case, nobody could suspect for one of the historical MotoGP manufacturers to quit in this way. Only three months ago the team had signed Italian manager Livio Suppo, to take charge of the competition project as team leader during the coming campaigns. 

Suzuki had also signed a five-year renewal in 2021 to continue in the championship until the end of 2026. The near future, at least, seemed settled. To tie things up legally and as is customary, a penalty clause was included in that contract. If the Japanese team repeated their move of 2011 and decided to break up unilaterally, they would have to face a multimillion-dollar fine. 

Back to the present time and, as further proof of its commitment to the event, Suzuki introduced various improvements to the GSX-RR of Álex Rins and Joan Mir for 2022. But the inconsistencies do not end there.

Only last week, the Mallorcan pilot and 2020 MotoGP champion with the Hamamatsu team, was ready to sign his renewal. On a purely competitive level, the blue machines are also doing pretty well. Rins, in fact, arrived at the Spanish GP in Jerez level on points with leader Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha), who won in Portugal. All in all, nothing could predict such an abrupt move by Suzuki.

Images of Suzuki: Team Suzuki ECSTAR MotoGP.

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