No red carpet for Suzuki MotoGP return in 2014

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Suzuki will not be granted a brand new entry to complete its anticipated return to the MotoGP grid in 2014.

Instead the Japanese factory will have to collaborate with an existing team like Aspar, Gresini or BQR, as Dorna boss Carmelo Ezpeleta seeks to gain some stability in the MotoGP world championship.

Suzuki intends to be back on the grid next season with an all-new 1000cc project after temporarily suspending its MotoGP activity at the end of 2011.

Suzuki is still expected to return to MotoGP as planned in 2014, even though they won’t be able to do so with their own exclusive entry.

By insisting that Suzuki uses a current entry to participate, should the Japanese factory decide on a sudden withdrawal, the team it joined forces with could still potentially survive by forming a relationship with another factory.

That way grid numbers will remain stable and teams that have wanted a place on the grid and the resources to compete have not been rejected in favour of a fully-fledged manufacturer effort from the likes of Suzuki.

Dorna boss Carmelo Ezpeleta told MCN: “For 2014 we will not accept new entries, so if Suzuki wants to enter the championship they must use one of the existing teams or one of their entries. So they need to go to somebody and buy that team. It could be anybody but for example if it is Gresini then somebody else can use his bike.

We don’t want them saying they will participate and very soon they leave. They can leave whenever they want as long as they are using one of the existing entries. This is something that Formula One has been doing very well.

When BMW decided to come they had to use Williams or Sauber and when they leave Sauber is still on the grid. So what happens if we give an entry to Aprilia and after one year they decide to leave? You then need to convince somebody else who had an entry but was not accepted to come and take that place.”

Ezpeleta hinted that the Suzuki entry stipulation was to protect the interests of teams that had supported the MotoGP world championship during the bleak economic times caused by the global financial crisis.

Suzuki had already downsized its factory effort to one GSV-R for Alvaro Bautista in 2011 before it announced it would be taking a sabbatical owing to the impact of the financial downturn.

Ezpeleta added: “One thing is very clear. MotoGP right now is what it is because of the effort of many people and that includes the existing teams and the CRT. I’m not happy if somebody says now I am arriving and now I am leaving.

I am not telling a new manufacturer anything. They will maintain full power of the team but what I am saying is why do they need to start from scratch by buying trucks, equipment and hospitality?”

Ezpeleta said he would act as a referee if needed in negotiations between Suzuki and an existing team over a potential tie-up to ensure ‘nobody starts demanding crazy money.’

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt