Sepang MotoGP: Suzuki to run one-bike in 2011

By Matthew Birt -

MotoGP

 08 October 2010 10:02

Suzuki looks certain to run one factory GSV-R machine in 2011 after several team members were told in Sepang yesterday (Thursday) that they were unlikely to be offered new contracts.

The majority of the crew told they were free to seek alternative employment were on Loris Capirossi’s side of the garage, with Alvaro Bautista under contract for the 2011 MotoGP world championship campaign.

One was long-serving Suzuki crew chief Stuart Shenton, who has been with the Japanese factory since 1992.

Some of Bautista’s crew though will also be released in a reshuffle of the squad.

Suzuki is going ahead with its plan to slash its involvement to one bike despite the threat of legal action from Dorna.

Dorna is insisting Suzuki honour a commitment to field two bikes until the end of the 2011 season.

The Japanese factory is also coming under severe pressure from fellow Motorcycle Sport Manufacturers Association members Honda, Yamaha and Ducati, who are leaning heavily on Suzuki to honour the agreement.

Doran boss Carmel Epilate held talks with Suzuki last week at the Japanese Grand Prix at the Twin Ring Motegi, the Spaniard revealing to MCN that he was first made aware of Suzuki’s intention to reduce its involvement back in June.

Ezpeleta said Suzuki would only be allowed to downscale its involvement to one GSV-R machine next season on the provision it fields a two-rider factory effort in the inaugural 1000cc four-stroke MotoGP class in 2012.

Suzuki sales have plummeted as a result of the global financial meltdown and its fortunes in MotoGP have nosedived since a brilliant first 800cc campaign in 2007.