Just one day after the 2022 Spanish GP, on May 2, 2022, Suzuki informed its Factory MotoGP team of the brand’s plans to pull out of Grand Prix racing at the conclusion of the 2022 season. As the rumors swirled about the paddock, the House of Hamamatsu scrambled to clean up the PR mess.
That frenetic rollout meant that Suzuki didn’t officially announce its intention to depart the MotoGP series until ten days later, on May 12, 2022. However, the manufacturer couldn’t confirm those plans until it negotiated early contract termination with MotoGP organizing body Dorna Sports. Just one year earlier, Suzuki signed a five-year extension to keep the Factory team in MotoGP until 2026.
After months of negotiations, the two parties have finally agreed to exit terms, but Suzuki isn’t just folding its MotoGP operations, it’s also pulling out of the Endurance World Championship (EWC).
“Suzuki has decided to end the participation of MotoGP and EWC in the face of the need to re-allocate resources on other initiatives for sustainability,” admitted Suzuki President Toshihiro Suzuki.
“Motorcycle racing has always been a challenging place for technological innovation, including sustainability, and human resource development. This decision means that we will take on the challenge to build the new motorcycle business operation by redirecting the technological capabilities and human resources we have cultivated through the motorcycle racing activities to investigate other routes for a sustainable society.”
Based on the length of the negotiation proceedings and Suzuki’s reticence on the matter, it’s easy to assume that MotoGP levied a hefty fine for the firm's early departure. Unfortunately, neither side has disclosed those terms.
“I would like to express my deepest gratitude to all our fans, riders and all stakeholders who joined us and enthusiastically supported us from the development stage since we returned to MotoGP racing,” added Suzuki. “I will continue to do my best to support Alex Rins, Joan Mir, Team Suzuki Ecstar, and Yoshimura Sert Motul to compete competitively until the end of the season.”
Suzuki has captured the last two EWC championships and the Yoshimura Sert Motul team is on track to retain its crown in 2022. The endurance outfit enjoys a 15-point lead over F.C.C. TSR Honda France with two rounds left in the season. Regardless of its title defense, though, Suzuki will scrap the team come 2023.
Since Suzuki spilled the news in early May, MotoGP riders Joan Mir and Alex Rins have racked up six crashes and plummeted to eighth and ninth (respectively) in the rider championship standings. Both riders are currently vying for seats on other teams, but neither has officially signed contracts for 2023.
Sources: Motociclismo, Roadracing World, The Race, Crash, EWC