Seven days ago Suzuki announced to their MotoGP team that they intended to pull out of MotoGP at the end of the 2022 season. The Suzuki factory has been struggling to race as a factory team on any level for the last few seasons as sales slump and budgets were slashed.
While most expected that Suzuki would continue to race the MotoGP championship–they recently signed a five year agreement with Dorna–the news was not a complete surprise to anyone who has seen the inside of Suzuki’s racing department in the last 25 years. There has been a difficult disconnect between Suzuki’s racing department and the executive wing at Suzuki in Japan with numerous examples of Suzuki’s gaffes and at the same time ability to fall ass-backwards into success. When Kenny Roberts Junior was invited to Japan after winning the 2000 500cc world championship he was surprised to see Suzuki’s celebration was centered around his winning the 2000 IoMTT race; and several executives congratulated him on winning the TT.
In their defense Suzuki has made strides in recent years; winning the MotoGP title in 2020 with Johan Mir, signing the five year deal with Dorna, debuting a faster MotoGP bike in 2022 and recently hiring Livio Suppo as their new team manager. Only to tell the team that they are finished after six races in 2022.
It’s hard to imagine how this situation could have been handled in a less professional way. It is doubtful anyone who has spent time behind the scenes at Suzuki’s race department was surprised by the long dumpster fire that developed, all of it in public.
Seven days ago a press release was said to be on the way announcing to the world that Suzuki was pulling out, however that Suzuki-generated press release, to date, has not been issued. Dorna issued their own statement stating that they intend to hold Suzuki to the contract they signed to stay in MotoGP.
The lack of a press release is a sign to some that perhaps Suzuki is re-thinking its decision to bail out of MotoGP.