Kenny Roberts will quit Suzuki if its new GSV-R four-stroke is not competitive this season.
He told MCN: " If I have to get on a more competitive bike in 2003, that is what I’ll do. I want to be back winning races and challenging for titles and you can only do that if you are riding a competitive bike. I will have to look at whatever options are available. "
The 28-year-old added: " It is too early in our development to know when we will be competitive. But I have faith in Suzuki to get it right. At the end of the day, everybody agreed to the rule changes for the new four-stroke series so it is up to Suzuki to build a competitive bike on which I can win races. "
The 2000 world champion is desperate to get himself back at the front of the field after his title defence turned into a nightmare.
The bike Roberts rode at the recent Catalunya test had already improved by around 4mph on top speed, and engineers have promised a similar rise for the race and the next test at the Japanese circuit in just over a week.
Roberts added: " I also want it to corner faster and accelerate better, but I’m pretty happy with the throttle connection at the moment. "
Roberts has had problems with stability under braking and added: " I struggle at the entry to a corner. The bike just doesn’t seem settled.
" But it is so early in the project that we are still finding out some fundamental problems. It is difficult for me to predict when I might be competitive and challenging the Honda at the front.