Suzuki MotoGP team gets green light for 2009

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Suzuki will definitely race its factory team in the 2009 MotoGP world championship, killing off persistent rumours the Japanese company would join Kawasaki as a casualty of the global economic crisis.

Ever since Kawasaki decided to quit MotoGP at the beginning of January, there has been constant speculation that Suzuki was also considering an immediate withdrawal.

But having signed an agreement with Dorna to guarantee to supply bikes until the end of the 2011 season at least, Japanese management have recently confirmed that Suzuki will definitely race its two factory GSV-R bikes next season.

Team boss Paul Denning told MCN: “Senior management at Suzuki have given the green light for the MotoGP project for 2009.

"Suzuki as a company would certainly not leave any decision to this late stage and secondly they would also seek to honour their agreements with the riders signed last year and with Dorna.

"If Suzuki had seriously thought about that option I’m sure it would have been done in a way that wasn’t at the end of January when we are just about to leave to start winter testing in Sepang.”

On the subject of late decisions, Denning denied that Suzuki had definitely lost title sponsor Rizla for the 2009 world championship campaign.

Negotiations are still on going according to Denning, who added a decision for Rizla to quit would have no impact on Suzuki’s commitment to race in 2009.

“We are still in discussions, though there is a cut-off date. But that has not yet been reached. It is coming up shortly and I would imagine being able to let everyone know what we are doing by the middle of February, “added Denning.

Denning also denied rumours that Suzuki had considered dividing its testing appearances for Aussie Chris Vermeulen and Italian veteran Loris Capirossi to cut down on costs.

He confirmed that both Vermeulen and Capirossi would be testing in Sepang for the three-day session that gets underway on February 5.

“I don’t know where all these rumours come from, but Chris and Loris will both be in Sepang and there has never been consideration given them alternating tests.

"There is such a limit on testing now anyway compared to previous years, so Chris and Loris will be together at all three tests in Sepang, Qatar and Jerez and then we go racing.

With the testing cuts now we have only got eight days on track as it is before the first race.”

Suzuki has also decided to continue its involvement in the American superbike championship after fears it would pullout having dominated the series with its GSX-R1000 machine.

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt