The Suzuki MotoGP team have confirmed that Andrea Iannone will not remain with them for next season, opening the door for the Italian to be replaced by rookie Joan Mir for next season.
The news comes as no surprise, with Iannone confirming in Mugello last weekend that the team had elected to go with someone else to sit alongside Alex Rins for 2019.
“For sure I will not remain with Suzuki – I will switch to another bike and another manufacturer. I don’t want to talk about my future too much because it’s heavy on me right now. Suzuki talked with me about my future only after the Barcelona test, and in any case it’s sure now that I’ll not remain with them.”
While Jorge Lorenzo initially looked to be Suzuki-bound, that option seems to have disappeared thanks to reigning Moto3 world champion Mir’s aspirations to move up to the premier class after only one season in Moto2. With Suzuki bosses confirming that they were deep in talks with the rookie, it seems that they’ve now decided to instead attempt to replicate the success of Maverick Viñales by making the move to Suzuki, with an announcement most likely due next week at the Catalan Grand Prix.
That also seems to fit with Suzuki’s aims, with the Japanese firm looking to move away from big-name riders after a difficult season and a half with Andrea Iannone helming their project. Instead, the Hamamatsu firm are instead keen to cultivate young talent to title success a route that’s worked out well for them with both Viñales and Alex Rins.