The Race’s sources within the Suzuki MotoGP team have confirmed the bombshell news that the 2020 world championship-winning team will withdraw from the series at the end of the year, leaving both Joan Mir and Alex Rins without a ride, the premier class short one manufacturer and dozens of staff unemployed.
The incredible news has come from absolutely nowhere, with new team principal Livio Suppo (hired only a few months ago) speaking to The Race only days ago at the Portuguese Grand Prix about his desire to retain both riders for next season and beyond.
The news was broken to the team’s staff during testing today at Jerez, with the stunning news coming from completely out of the blue after a decision made at headquarters in Japan that seems to have had zero input from the team.
It’s not the first time that Suzuki (one of the lowest-budget teams on the grid) has taken similar action, dramatically quitting only at the final round of 2011 after having already signed riders for the following year. That time a result of the global financial crisis, it’s possible that this decision has again been triggered by similar issues surrounding the COVID pandemic.
The team announced only last April that it had signed a new contract with MotoGP series promoters Dorna to remain a part of the championship until at least 2026, expressing a long term commitment to the sport that few at the time doubted given it had just come off the back of a highly-successful 2020 season that saw Mir lift the title.
His future, and that of team-mate Alex Rins, is now perhaps the most pertinent question, with Suzuki’s decision blowing the 2023 rider market wide apart. With Suzuki seemingly keen to keep both riders, it was believed that there wouldn’t be too much movement on that front – but now, with both free agents on the market, it means that many teams will be reconsidering their options.
While the news is yet to be officially announced, it’s believed that a press release will be issued confirming it some time on Tuesday morning