MotoGP: Suzuki confirms plans to quit at the end of 2022

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Suzuki has confirmed that talks are underway with Dorna regarding the possibility of the manufacturer leaving MotoGP at the end of the season.

Rumours began to circulate last week that Suzuki could leave, much to the surprise of the entire paddock, and the 2020 title-winning Suzuki Ecstar Team. It leaves riders Joan Mir and Alex Rins without rides for 2023, and the entire team without jobs.

Dorna responded with its own strongly worded statement, reminding Suzuki that they signed a new five-year deal to remain in MotoGP until the end of 2026. From Dorna’s point of view, there would be legal and financial implications of an early departure.

Joan Mir celebrates winning the 2020 MotoGP title

Suzuki has finally responded on the eve of the French Grand Prix at Le Mans. The statement reads:

“Suzuki Motor Corporation is in discussions with Dorna regarding the possibility of ending its participation in MotoGP at the end of 2022.

“Unfortunately, the current economical situation and the need to concentrate its effort on the big changes that the automotive world is facing in these years, are forcing Suzuki to shift costs and human resources to develop new technologies.

“We would like to express our deepest gratitude to our Suzuki Ecstar Team, to all those who have supported Suzuki’s motorcycle racing activities for many years, and to all Suzuki fans who have given us their enthusiastic support.”

It’s not the first time that Suzuki has quit MotoGP for financial reasons. Suzuki departed at the end of the 2011 season after reducing the team to a one-rider entity with Alvaro Bautista, but returned in a full-time capacity in 2015 with Aleix Espargaro and rookie Maverick Vinales.

Alex Rins, pictured at Jerez, is looking for a 2023 ride

From that point, Suzuki gradually built momentum and became challengers once again in MotoGP. Vinales secured their first win since returning at the 2016 British Grand Prix, whilst several podiums followed with Andrea Iannone, Alex Rins, and Joan Mir.

Rins now has three victories with Suzuki, whilst Mir sealed a single victory on his way to becoming champion in 2020 – Suzuki’s first MotoGP title since Kenny Roberts Jr in 2000.

Mir has been linked with Repsol Honda for 2023, potentially replacing Pol Espargaro to partner Marc Marquez. Things are less certain for Rins as things stand.

As for Suzuki’s grid spots, Dorna revealed in their statement last week that there are “high levels of interest from a number of both official factories and independent teams looking to join the MotoGP grid.”

Aprilia could expand by having a satellite team, with former Moto3 champions Leopard Racing already showing an interest in moving up into the premier class.