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Suzuki Explains Why It’s Leaving MotoGP

A Suzuki dealer bulletin released on Friday gives more insight into its potential departure from MotoGP.

A Suzuki dealer bulletin released on Friday gives more insight into its potential departure from MotoGP. (MotoGP/)

Following the Jerez round of the MotoGP World Championship round two weeks ago, Suzuki Motor Corporation dropped the bombshell of the season on not only the Team Suzuki Ecstar organization and riders Álex Rins and 2020 MotoGP champion Joan Mir, but Suzuki fans around the world that it was quitting MotoGP. We reported on it here. At the time there was very little information and not much in the way of an explanation as to why it was walking away from the championship for the second time in 10 years (previously sitting on the sidelines between 2012–2014).

A bit more than a week later, Suzuki released a brief statement that read: “Suzuki Motor Corporation is in discussions with Dorna regarding the possibility of ending Suzuki’s participation in MotoGP at the end of 2022.

“Unfortunately, the current economic 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 drastically decrease racing related costs and to use all its economical and human resources in developing 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.”

This statement left as many questions unanswered as it addressed, considering that Suzuki had signed a contract to remain in the paddock through 2026. Dorna, MotoGP’s governing body, quickly responded: “Following recent rumors of Suzuki departing MotoGP at the end of 2022, Dorna Sports has officially contacted the factory in order to remind them that the conditions of their contract to race in MotoGP do not allow for them to take this decision unilaterally.

“However, should Suzuki depart following an agreement between both parties, Dorna will decide on the ideal number of riders and teams racing in the MotoGP class from 2023.”

Cycle World recently acquired an internal memo sent to Suzuki dealers in the United States further clarifying the decision and what it means for their businesses. The document reiterated the above statements previously released, stating the following: “Suzuki Motor Corporation is, in fact, exploring leaving MotoGP at the end of 2022 and is negotiating with series organizer DORNA on an exit plan. This decision has been made in light of the changing market environment and is part of a strategy to allocate resources to ensure the health and vibrancy of Suzuki’s overall business—particularly in the areas of sustainability, carbon neutrality, and alternative fuel technologies. Like all companies, Suzuki is adjusting to a rapidly changing world.

“This business decision does not undermine Suzuki’s dedication and commitment to its motorcycle and ATV business or the U.S. powersports market.

“Suzuki Motor Corporation and Suzuki Motor USA, LLC are committed to powersports and the U.S. market and will continue to deliver and service the premium quality Suzuki motorcycles, ATVs, and scooters you’ve come to expect.”

Despite exiting MotoGP, Suzuki states it remains committed to its motorcycle and ATV business as well as MotoAmerica, AMA Supercross, AMA Motocross, and NHRA Pro Stock Drag Racing.

Despite exiting MotoGP, Suzuki states it remains committed to its motorcycle and ATV business as well as MotoAmerica, AMA Supercross, AMA Motocross, and NHRA Pro Stock Drag Racing. (MotoGP/)

At the end of the memo were some answers to questions it felt needed further explanation. It confirmed that it has no intentions to cease production of motorcycles and powersports products, will not be leaving the US market, and will continue to support its domestic racing commitments in MotoAmerica, AMA Supercross, AMA Motocross, and NHRA Pro Stock Drag Racing.

With a bunch of recently released new products including the GSX-S1000, GSX-S1000GT/GT+, and the brand-new Hayabusa, plus the promise of more new models coming soon, Suzuki fans can relax knowing that at least from a product side, the Hamamatsu company remains on the gas.

As to what this means for Team Suzuki Ecstar and its riders remains to be seen. Three-time MotoGP winner Rins and former Moto3 and MotoGP champion Mir are sure to be hot properties for any teams looking for riders with a race-winning pedigree. Their sudden availability definitely throws a huge wrench in the rider market for 2023, a market in which very few of the factory and satellite team riders have contracts beyond 2022.

Stay tuned, as this is a developing story.

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