MD was waiting for an official press release from Suzuki, which was expected yesterday, but reports throughout the motorcycle racing press indicate that Suzuki has made the decision to quit its participation in MotoGP effective at the end of this season. The reason we don’t have an official press release? Apparently, Dorna has reminded Suzuki that it recently signed an agreement to field a two-rider team in MotoGP for five additional years. Quitting now, without Dorna’s consent, would be a breach of that agreement.
This doesn’t mean Suzuki won’t leave at the end of this year, but it leaves open several possibilities. Dorna has already indicated it has received interest from other manufacturers, as well as satellite teams, to take extra grid positions that become available in MotoGP. This could result, for example, in a GasGas-branded team (GasGas is under common ownership with KTM and Husqvarna), or even, in theory, a Kawasaki MotoGP Team.
If a factory or satellite team takes over the two grid positions vacated by Suzuki, they might employ current Suzuki team riders Alex Rins and/or Joan Mir, or they might not. Rins and Mir are both free agents at the end of this year, in any event, as their contracts with Suzuki come to an end.
No matter how this plays out, if Suzuki walks away at the end of this year, it will likely pay damages for breach of its agreement with Dorna, which could come in the form of at least partial funding of a replacement team.
Reports indicate Suzuki is leaving for financial reasons, but that is clearly speculation at this point and not likely to ever be confirmed by the factory. MD will pay attention to this story as it develops and issue additional reports when appropriate.
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