Suzuki eager to keep de Puniet in testing role
Suzuki is hoping to tie down a deal with experienced French rider Randy de Puniet to continue spearheading development of its new factory 1000cc prototype in 2014.
As well as racing full-time with the Aspar Aprilia squad this season, de Puniet has been busy leading Suzuki’s test and development programme on a new 1000cc prototype it plans to race full-time in 2015.
The former factory Kawasaki rider is surplus to requirements in Jorge Martinez’s Aspar outfit, having been comprehensively beaten by teammate Aleix Espargaro to the title of best non-factory rider in 2014.
With his options to remain racing full-time looking increasingly bleak, Suzuki is eager to clinch a deal for the ex-LCR Honda rider to continue.
Suzuki’s Davide Brivio, who is hotly tipped to lead the Japanese factory’s return to MotoGP in 2015, told MCN: “We are talking to him and we hope we can come up with a deal and we hope he is happy to stay.
"We understand that we can’t offer a racing programme and every rider as a first option, they like to race. Randy is waiting to see if he has some possibility to race or not before deciding but we are waiting and we would be happy to continue with him.”
Suzuki would probably have a greater chance of enticing de Puniet if it could guarantee him a few wild card slots in selected races next season.
Brivio has made it clear that Suzuki would learn much more about its potential and the improvements needed to be competitive in 2015 by racing Yamaha, Honda and Ducati on a frequent basis next year.
Wild card appearances though are still not featuring at all on Suzuki’s 2014 agenda and Brivio added: “At the moment there is no plan to do a wild card.
"I am sure the technical department would like to see the bike race because in the race is where you can truly understand the level. But at the moment there is no plan and no talking about that.”