Suzuki Confirms MotoGP Departure – Hope of 2014 Return
As expected, Suzuki has officially announced its withdrawal from MotoGP racing, though the Japanese manufacturer says it plans to return to the world championship in 2014.
Suzuki cites the recession, the value of the Japanese Yen and a series of natural disasters as reasons for suspending its MotoGP program for at least two years.
Reports of Suzuki’s withdrawal began circulating earlier this week with some staff members reportedly receiving notice late last week, but signs of Suzuki’s impending withdrawal have been around for over a year.
This season, the Rizla Suzuki team opted to compete with just a single rider, Alvaro Bautista, and letting 2008-2010 rider Loris Capirossi leave for the Pramac Ducati satellite team. When the 2011 season kicked off in Qatar, Bautista crashed and broke his leg during practice, sidelining him for the first two rounds.
The second half of the season wasn’t much better with five DNFs, though Bautista finished in the top ten in the races he did finish.
Another indicator was the lack of development. While other teams began working on new 1000cc machines for the 2012 season, Suzuki’s testing focused on its 800cc GSV-R race bike.
Meanwhile, over in World Superbikes, Suzuki is shifting from the Alstare Racing team to the Crescent Racing team, which is owned by Rizla Suzuki Team Manager Paul Denning. Suzuki isn’t going to be providing as much technical support however, with Yoshimura stepping in to prepare the Crescent Suzuki GSX-R1000 superbikes.