Alvaro Bautista seems certain to move to the San Carlo Gresini Honda squad in 2012 after Suzuki confirmed in Valencia today that the former 125GP world champion has left the Japanese factory.
Suzuki has been unable to confirm its 2012 plans so far and having continually delayed his own future decision, Bautista decided he couldn’t wait any longer having initially been approached about an LCR Honda slot.
The Spaniard though will join Fausto Gresini’s Honda squad following the tragic death of popular Italian rider Marco Simoncelli in Sepang last month.
Bautista is expected to test for the Rimini-based squad in Valencia today.
Bautista said: "I am very sad to be leaving Suzuki after the two great years that I have had here. It has been a great team to work in and I have learnt a lot of things from everyone in the team. It was a fantastic experience working with an English/Japanese team and we have become like a big family, except we have never had any arguments and no-one falls out with each other!
"I want to thank everybody personally for the last two years, sometimes it has been difficult, but nobody ever gave up and I felt like I always had their full support and commitment. I don’t feel like I am leaving a team, but a group of friends that I hope I will know for a long time. I want to say a special thank-you to Tom, Paul, Ken san and Sahara san, and wish them and the rest of the team all the best for the future."
Suzuki has still not confirmed whether it will race in 2012 and it was confirmed yesterday that factory management have been given until Friday to commit.
The team tested French rider Randy de Puniet yesterday and Denning told MCN in Valencia: "Suzuki has been informed by Dorna that there is a deadline from their point of view. They clearly need to announce the formal plans for the 2012 championship and they need to know about Suzuki’s involvement or not. There is obviously a certain element of support that Dorna provides for the manufacturers and the teams and Carmelo basically needs to know if he needs to allocate that to Suzuki or somebody else. That deadline is the end of this working week so everything will be clear by then."