Suzuki Out Of MotoGP In 2012

It has been expected and even predicted for the past few months now, but it appears that the final confirmation is imminent. On Monday morning, web weekly reported that Suzuki will not be racing in MotoGP in 2012. According to GPWeek's Michael Scott, Rizla Suzuki team members were informed by email last Friday that Suzuki would not be racing in 2012, but that work would continue on the 1000cc prototype with the hope of returning to the series in 2014.

Suzuki's withdrawal caps a 41-year career in MotoGP, starting with privateer entries back in 1971, which took the production T500 two-stroke twin and put it into a special chassis produced by Seeley - an eerie reminder of the CRT machines due to take the stage in MotoGP in 2012 - and running through world championships for Barry Sheene, Marco Lucchinelli, Franco Uncini, Kevin Schwantz and Kenny Roberts Junior. Suzuki's fortunes started to decline with the switch to the four-stroke MotoGP machines, the factory losing serious interest in the series over the past couple of years. Suzuki cut back to just a single machine for the 2011 season, ridden by Alvaro Bautista, and now they will be pulling out altogether.

An explanation for the withdrawal is yet to be given, but the problems appear to be at the senior management level. Though support for racing is still strong in both the marketing and Suzuki's - very small indeed - racing department, certain key figures on the Suzuki board are believed to be against the factory going racing. Recent reports in the German magazine Speedweek suggested that the opposition to racing came from the desire to buy back the 19.9% stake that Suzuki sold to Volkswagen back in 2009. A dispute has flared up over technology sharing between the two companies, and Suzuki is trying to extract itself from the deal. That would require a large amount of money to achieve - VW paid 1.7 billion euros for the stake in Suzuki two years' ago - and so cutting investment in racing is one area where savings could be made. Suzuki's support of the Alstare team in World Superbikes has also been under pressure for some time.

Suzuki's withdrawal from MotoGP illustrates perfectly why Dorna and IRTA have elected to pursue the CRT project. When the series switched to four-stroke engines in 2002, the manufacturers - assembled in the MSMA - were given control of the technical regulations, on the understanding that they would provide a plentiful supply of machines to fill the grid with. The spiralling cost of racing four-stroke engines, made exponentially worse by smaller capacities and limiting fuel to just 21 liters, saw manufacturers pull out, Aprilia leaving after just three years of four-stroke racing, Kawasaki holding on until 2008, and only fielding a single bike in 2009 after pressure from Dorna to fulfil their contract. Suzuki's withdrawal leaves just three of the original manufacturers in the series, with Honda, Yamaha and Ducati fielding factory prototypes in 2012. Without CRT, there would be just 12 bikes on the grid for 2012, the teams simply no longer able to afford the exorbitant lease prices charged by the factories for their machines, anywhere between 2.5 million and 4.5 million euros a year.

Though GPWeek's report states that Suzuki could return in 2014, by then the rules are likely to have moved on. Factory sources would neither confirm nor deny that the new contract had been signed between the MSMA and Dorna, giving the factories sole authority over the technical rules, with Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta giving every appearance of wanting to keep the technical rules under his own control, to allow private teams to compete at a drastically reduced cost and still be capable of scoring points. With a spec ECU and rev limits likely for 2013 onwards, Suzuki will have to watch the technical rules closely as they develop their new machine. But given Suzuki's waning interest in all forms of international road racing in recent years, it could be a very long time before we see another Suzuki on the grid in the premier class, unless entered as a CRT machine by a private team. Just as the first one was back in 1971.

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I feel sorry for the whole Rizla team, having put in so much effort, and having so much to show for it with the results that Bautista (and RdP in the test) acheived! It seems they have been let down, not by themselves, but by Suzuki.
What now for RdP?

---Appears he's going to become a test rider for Ducati

Exactly my first thought, "Oh geez what has RdP done to himself..." Would this be the second year in a row that he has screwed himself out of a seat at LCR (all but officially for Bradl now)? Well, he'll be a fantastic CRT rider, if not moving to WSBK!

Blaming the factories for the current rule structure is popular but not really accurate. Ezpeleta states in the current issue on p.38-39 that he and Ippolito have veto power over anything, even unanimous MSMA votes, and that all rule changes have been passed by the Grand Prix Commission by a unanimous vote. That's the teams, the manufacturers, and the organizers. They all voted for the changes that we have come to hate.

They have all made their bed and now are complaining that it is uncomfortable. I only feel bad in the sense that GP is being diluted for the sole reason of entertainment.


That's a bit unfair to both Ezpeleta (Dorna) and Ippolito (FIM). They run the series through a very thin line where various parties have to be pleased, and that includes the big colossi that is the MSMA, with all mighty Honda in the lead. Otherwise, they face a possibility where the manufacturers just go away (perhaps there lies the real reason to adopt CRT?). It's all too political.

In anycase, it's just intriguing that, given the past lessons, noone couldn't anticipate the escalating costs when preparing, then changing, the rules for the 4 strokes and, then again, changing rules for at least two times since that.

While these were somewhat expected news, it's extremely sad to read/hear that another manufacturer is going to completely give up on the top series.
First was Aprilia, then Kawasaki, and now Suzuki. All bets are open to see who's next...

If the rule votes were 2:1 with Dorna voting no I'd agree. Dorna and IRTA and MSMA voted yes to everything and the FIM sat quietly now all of a sudden they are pissed about the rules that the MSMA are 'responsible' for.

>>It's all too political.

Absolutely. And like all political decisions that they are not made on merits or facts but on who will secretly benefit.

It is not intriguing about the runaway costs. Everyone in the paddock said the move to 4 strokes would greatly increase costs. The manufacturers and Dorna and FIM voted it in anyway. Just like everyone in the paddock said the move to 800cc would not slow the bikes down. Yet the changes were voted in and lap records were broken soon after.

Lots of rule changes, lots of tech changes, but I see no concerted effort to solve the true issue of lack of funds and interest from outside industries.


>>Lots of rule changes, lots of tech changes, but I see no concerted effort to solve the true issue of lack of funds and interest from outside industries.<<

That is indeed the truth, and a possible epitaph used over a possible demise of MotoGP as we know them for the last decade.

One thing I always get curious about is why the previous seasons bikes (privateers or official factory ones) can't be leased, and for a much lesser price.
I mean, it's not like a two or three year old machine is going to be so much slower to a privateer rider/team that (possible) lower costs wouldn't compensate (?).

Firstly, the rules. Under the terms of the contract between the MSMA and Dorna, the MSMA had a monopoly on the technical regulations. If the factories asked for a rule change, they got it, even though technically, the FIM and Dorna could have blocked such a change. Sometimes, the FIM and IRTA voted against the rule changes, but Dorna always voted with the factories (Dorna has the casting vote in the four member GPC).

As for leasing older bikes, both IRTA and Dorna have been asking for this for years, but the factories kept refusing to supply them. They would not lease separate engines either, all of the cost is in the engine and electronics to manage them.

Ezpeleta explained that Dorna were the only hold out. Kato's death stigmatized a "nay" vote for capacity reduction, and Honda were adamant about 800cc even though the rest of the MSMA thought 900cc made more sense.

Ezpeleta claims he didn't have the political capital to drive a wedge into the GPC's plans to reduce capacity. The FIM and IRTA were both concerned about safety, and the MSMA thought 990cc with 26L was a sensationalistic formula from the start. I think it was Burgess who said that the MSMA were stunned by the 990cc 26L formula b/c everyone knew the bikes could easily make 300hp with a bit of development. Apparently, the MSMA wanted to move to a 600cc base from the start. Things were a lot different back then. 1000cc WSBK competition was supposed to be for air-restricted Superbikes with 180hp.

>> D.Emmet: "As for leasing older bikes, both IRTA and Dorna have been asking for this for years, but the factories kept refusing to supply them. They would not lease separate engines either, all of the cost is in the engine and electronics to manage them."

That's unfortunate and the factories make little sense then. Perhaps it has to do with maintenance/parts or something? (who knows, really?)

I think that no rider and team wants to have an "old bike" but, in the current scenario and level of refinement seen in recent years, it would probably have been an alternative solution for more privateer/satellite teams, and the manufacturers would make at least a small profit from machines that, otherwise, are simply "gone".
Afterall, those racebikes today are either dismantled (even destroyed?) or in museums. Perhaps in some rich bloke's private collection!

>>Phoenix1: "Apparently, the MSMA wanted to move to a 600cc base from the start. Things were a lot different back then. 1000cc WSBK competition was supposed to be for air-restricted Superbikes with 180hp."

Now, that's intriguing.
And yet, 10 years later, they return to a bigger engine capacity formula (1000cc). ...The irony of it all.

As much as this news was pretty much 100% expected, it is still very sad.

What a pity not to have the sky blue bikes on the grid for 2012. Heaven knows what MotoGP will end up looking like, if Ducati can't get their act together next year (even with arguably the world's most talented rider) it's just Yamaha trying to hang on the Honda's tail. Hopefully the CRTs will add interest.

This old man will miss the Suzuki girls too, love the uniforms, they're doing all but carrying whips!

Suzuki's management is in confuse for some serious reasons, but the fault for withdrawal is also elsewhere. Dorna's ridiculous rules for 800 and their absence when the cost of electronics was growing set teams budget to the current levels. All teams (factories & satellites) are struggling and Ezpeleta says more tests...
He's changing the rules with not clear targets.
I say that they don't really know what's happening and if we look the results that's probably the truth.
So could they prevent Suzi's withdrawal? Perhaps a new rule for weak teams (for example 3-4 kilos less) would be enough.
Next victims color is red?
And FIM continues to shine by their absence.
With these people its only a matter of time for us to say ciao motogp.

the lone Suzuki still was able to catch and consistently beat the Italian Dream team pretty much all year. It has been the race within the race that has kept me interested after Casey heads off into the distance..
Sad to see this and I know Randy and Lauren in blue was going to add to "the show"...
How about a few of your spare euros tossed their way Carmelo??

Lets not kid ourselves that this is some minnow company along the lines of Aprilia or Ducati. They are a big global motor company with resource aplenty for a racing department if the will was there. Obviously it is not.

Bottom line is they're not good enough to compete and this is an admission of such, they're packing up their toys and trotting off home having endured enough four stroke humiliation.

Motorcycles are an emotive purchase. A healthy part of my purchase consideration stems from a companies racing participation / success at global level. You reap what you sow Suzuki. Good luck flogging GSXR's. Or do your bean counters say it's only Burgman's on the shop floor now?

heh, a bit harsh, no?

I would think there's more in this decision than simple production mentality/profit from Suzuki's side.

Like David mentions in the article, there are obvious financial reasons. The problem with VW, for instances, which has escalated to some fairly big proportions. It must have had direct relation to this decision.

re: "I would think there's more in this decision than simple production mentality/profit from Suzuki's side."

why...? when you're a FOR-profit entity operating in the 21st century, what other consideration is there...?

From what I've seen, 90% of the Suzuki GSX-R riders in the US have no idea what MotoGP is.

re: "From what I've seen, 90% of the Suzuki GSX-R riders in the US have no idea what MotoGP is."


So true... no helmet, shorts, t-shirt, sunglasses... "look at me"

Shame, because some of them are good riders... and then some are not so good

re: "A healthy part of my purchase consideration stems from a companies racing participation / success at global level. You reap what you sow Suzuki."

good. you however represent a 2% sub-niche of an already niche business. what about the other 98% who don't know from racing...??? the sooner we acknowledge our minority position in the grand scheme of things, the sooner we'll be able to mount an effective plan of action. each one, teach one.

so not part of your 2% Norm. Undoubtedly the industry has become more niche specialised over the years, but there's still a healthy proportion of us that to some degree buy into the 'Win on Sunday, sell on Monday' theory - for sports bikes at least. It's a different story in the U.K, Europe and Australasia.

"Win on Sunday, sell on Monday" may make sense with production based racing but i can't see the connection with prototype racing. You'd buy a bike because the company made a completely different bike that wins races? I realize the bikes in WSB are pretty far from the showroom models but you can at least pretend it's the same thing.
For me a motorbike is how I get to work. Winning races has nothing to do with my purchase decisions though I do like having a sporty bike (Triumph Speed Four, currently).

Well, for me the inverse certainly works.
If I won the lottery tomorrow, I would still hold up buying a Panigale until I've seen how the chassis fairs in production based racing.
Suzuki's whole attitude towards MotoGP and WSBK did disappoint me that much, that it may influence what brand of bike I buy the next time. Not the fact that they pulled out, but the way they left their teams hanging.

Totally stupid and illogical, I know, but still at the moment Suzuki went a few places further down on my wish-list.

I recently read a comment by a French moto journalist of long experience that for many years now, putting a race bike on the cover of a mag like Moto Journal would lower sales.

In France, the people who buy GSXR's are already a tiny niche. Suzuki make money selling scooters, GSR's, SV's. The UK, Australia and probably the US would be unusual for the high proportion buying sport bikes, whatever their level of ignorance of MotoGP.

Great bike (if numerous reviews are to be believed) but very far from a sales success. I wonder if that's down to their negligible presence in international or even national racing?

At least in the U.S. It is hard to find dealers, or at minimum, someone who is willing to work on them and service them. From experience, it is a real pain in the *ss!

But, man, I sure would like to try out a RC8 (in my opinion the best looking sportbike out there)

I'm in favor of 1000cc, but Suzuki's withdrawal highlights the problems of switching capacity without manufacturer support. Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, Kawasaki, Ducati, FB Corse (Oral Engineering), Ilmor, and Inmotec all have prototype 800cc engines. Only 3 of those manufacturers have 1000cc prototype engines.

I'm not surprised Suzuki withdrew. When corporate officers give racing officials practical objectives, the MSMA is suddenly an impractical place to spend time.

For Suzuki pulling out was the only logical move. they are now number 4 behind triumph in the UK, and in the in the states they just aren't moving bikes. Unlike Ducati, they aren't winning in AMA, or in world super bikes. If they pull out, they can spend the $ they would have spent on a noncompetitive gp bike and put it on a complete redesign of a inline 4 they can get some marketing out of.

I will still miss the Rizla bikes--except here in the states they couldn't run with the logo. After Sic, bautista was my up and comer pick.

re: "If they pull out, they can spend the $ they would have spent on a noncompetitive gp bike and put it on a complete redesign of a inline 4 they can get some marketing out of."

which we assume is something they will DO. that is but our selfish desire as motorcyclists. don't be surprised when they DON'T.

from Suzuki was not making it clear much earlier that they would not be taking part in 2012. Still there is no official announcement. I wonder why they would dally so much with making their position clear, unless there really is some internal indecision within the boardroom.

Exactly. Bautista was obviously loyal to them until he just could not delay any longer, but loyalty goes both ways. Now Suzuki's made it very difficult for the rest of the team to find somewhere to go for next year.

Not very professional.

For me the question isn't whether Suzuki would pull out but more why would they continue. They haven't had any success for years and even this year the bike was only just fast enough to challenge the lagging bikes from the other manufacturers, and when it did, it got crashed out too often.
The bike is a V4 and Suzuki (unlike Honda) have no tradition of performance bikes of that configuration so there is minimal link to the bikes that they market and sell. Last year they also had public humiliation and loss of face when they had to request extra engines due reliability issues. All in all not great marketing and probably poor value for the money invested.
Then we have 2012 with a new formula requiring a new bike and potentially more changes coming for 2013, maybe including the move to a control ECU which would negate technology transfer from this area to Suzuki streetbikes.
If you were half hearted about the value of MotoGP to your company, wouldn't you quit in that environment?

That's a fair point.

There's an interesting interview of Francis Batta (Alstare Suzuki Team boss) by CycleNews, explaining the motives for the end of their long cooperation in WSBK.
Supposedly, Suzuki are also out of Superbikes according to this interview (not knowing for sure how is it for Crescent Suzuki - owned by Paul Denning, who was also ahead of the Suzuki MotoGP team).

I still think the VW issue is also related to this decision.
But then it seems the problems for Suzuki and racing are going around for a lot longer than most presume and, indeed, if you keep struggling for results, and good sponsorship is lacking in such an expensive sport as is MotoGP (same problem happening in WSBK too), the writing is on the wall.

re: "They haven't had any success for years"

that's because they never tried. don't confuse what you saw the past decade. motogp was never meant to be anything more than a token presence so long as they had a license to print money in america. notice grandprix pretty much fell off the radar for them round about '98/'99...? oddly enough this just so happens to correspond with the release of the new fuel injected GSXR750 and the start of the "money makin mladin" era (how convenient). krjr didn't have a snowball's chance in hell of getting his RGV500 supported for his '01 title defense back at the turn of the century. i remember the wailing and nashing of teeth VIVIDLY.

while buying motorcycles is certainly an emotional purchase, the choice not to purchases a bike from any given manufacturer is also an emotional one. Knowing MotoGP has such a limited fan base in the States i generally try and purchase items i need from those that support our addiction to racing through their team sponsorship as a small way to say thank you. Knowing I am due for a new streetbike this season it looks like an R6 it will be.
more worrisome for Suzuki is if the addage win on Sunday, sell on Monday is true, where do they suspect to gain their customers from? watching Kevin Schwwantz and Roberts Jr reruns ain't gonna find customers breaking down doors to buy their product.

Hey Suzuki, the Jerk Store called. They're all out of you....

re: "Knowing I am due for a new streetbike this season it looks like an R6 it will be."

i say make it the new GSXR600 or you'll never see them return. don't think they'll take a risk on us when we've already shown (long before this) that we aren't going to value their hardwork and ingenuity...? bikes won't disappear, but if they have money to invest...? they'll invest in car-side (where they're all but gauranteed to see a return). lest we forget, they are in the same enviable position as BMW and HONDA. 20 years ago, hyundia couldn't get arrested. now in 2011, they are the toast of the industry. if Korea was able to accomplish this, how much more so could an established Japanese marque...?

Isn't purchasing a streetbike, a pretty major purchase, based on the level of results based on their top level of racing a bit naive? Shouldn't that purchase be made on which bike suits you best for the street? I wouldn't give my ZX-6R up for anything even though I was disappointed when Kawasaki left MotoGP but I'm not a contracted rider and have never even done a track day so Kawasaki's lack of participation in MotoGP does not affect the power delivery, handling, or reliability of my bike. Those all come before if they race MotoGP or not.

IMHO I don't think that it happens in every country. I live in Indonesia.
In 2000 when KRjr won, there's spike in Suzuki's sales share, and then declined again.
When Yamaha contracted Vale in 2004, yamaha's sales was around 50% of Honda's. Last year it matched Honda's share by around 40%. And from what I read, around 40% of yamaha's sales worldwide came from Indonesian market, that's why you see "Semakin di depan" tag line on their M1's. I don't know about Honda's sales figures but it has also "Satu Hati" tag line on their RCV212's. This year after Vale joins Ducati, yamaha's sales share drops. With around 7 million bikes (mostly mopeds and scooter) a year sold by manufactures -and still counting-, I think MotoGP coverage matters in some country regardless what bike sold.

I have to wonder what kind of financial impact issues such as GSXR frames snapping at the welds (GSXR1000 recalls) and electrical issues (73.4k bikes) has on a company like Suzuki also.

If the average cost to R/R a frame were $2000 for parts and labor (which I feel is a conservative estimate), and an electrical system repair might be $200-300 per bike or more, the liability for repairs alone could be several tens of millions of dollars, not including damages from injury settlements. Suzuki would need to sell a lot of bikes to recoup these costs, but the market is weak for $12,000 600cc supersport bikes, and for motorcycles in general.

It's no wonder that Suzuki would curtail costs by pulling out of MotoGP, at least for a period.

Its the 4 strokes that have sent the costs sky high and started the decline of motogp

re: "Its the 4 strokes that have sent the costs sky high and started the decline of motogp"

i contend it was the "i'm not going to pay alot for this muffler" mentality of those claiming to be "motorcyclists", that sent profit margins plunging that begat the decline of the industry that THEN begat the decline of motogp. the recession...? just a "backstory".

Their bike was just finding it's pace, Bautista being able to race with Sic/Dovi/Duc's in the last few rounds.

I'm guessing that there's no chance that they'll let privateers run those bikes in the future?

It was stupid of Dorna to give an ultimatum of last Friday to Suzuki. They should have been given every opportunity to continue internal and external discussions towards fielding a team next year.

The worst thing about this is I don't think we'll ever see Suzuki return to competition at this level. Ditto for Kawasaki. I'm in two minds what it will mean for their commercial prospects though. Triumph don't race in any meaningful way on the world stage, save for a bit of a lightweight effort in WSS, yet commercially they are doing very well thank you very much.

Didn't David mention in a previous article that Dorna had to finalise the official entrant list for all classes for 2012, hence the deadline to Suzuki? They had to make a call at some point.

There are CRT teams out there that are known to be competing in 2012 but are not on the entry list yet. So Dorna could have waited, I'm pretty sure. Teams have been known to come and go halfway through a season after all.

It looks to me as if Suzuki was waiting to see how committed Ezpleta was to the CRT cause.

Ezpleta made clear the fact that in a couple of seasons CRT type bikes will be the norm.

To make that possible he said he'll direct all founds Dorna has available to CRT teams only.

On the performance gap he stated he'll gradually tune the extra petrol allowance to CRT bikes until they'll be able to compete with factory bikes.

So Mr Carmelo is getting rid of that tedious 21 liter limit but only for CRT teams.

The guy cleared two issues in one go, the petrol rule and the factories excessive influence over the running of the show.

What's the point then for Suzuki in keep on spending time and money on rushing to complete a bike for 2012 that will be useless 2013/14?

As many already said, they'll focus on improving their street bikes production to become, maybe, let's say in year 2014 the engine of choice for the teams in a CRT dominated Motogp scenario...or maybe not.

Only time will tell.

The 41 year history only starts from when they came back after walking out in 1968. They first entered in 1961.

Their withdrawal from GP's in 1968 occured when rules were introduced to reduce technical complexity and cost:

"Suzuki were also developing the astonishing RP68, a 50cc Vee 3 which reportedly produced 19.8bhp at 19,000rpm the highest specific output ever recorded by a normally- aspirated internal combustion engine. It was so peaky that its 14 gears were insufficient. Yet time was running out for the multi cylinder factory specials. 125s were soon to be limited to two cylinders and six speeds. When Suzuki, along with Honda, withdrew from world championship competition, the days of the most exotic generation of machines in racing history were over."

quoted from

Sounds sort of familiar, doesn't it?

HAHAH ...14 gears!
With no digital gear indicator, that must have been insanely difficult to memorize and engage the right gears for certain corners (maybe full throtle and pray!?! hehe).
We modern riders are spoiled, hats off to those crazy guys.

Some of the old timers in the paddock tell stories of riders frantically trying to memorize what gear they were in in each corner and getting it horribly wrong...

Maybe an idea for the off-season: an interview of two with some of the "old timers"? There must be some great stories to tell as well as some interesting parallels to be drawn ..... “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” etc.

As an aside, the 4-wheeled equivalent of our sport seems to be much better served in respect to reporting of historical races and machinery. I'm a big fan of Motor Sport magazine which has some fascinating and very high quality reporting. I have no interest in it but I'd strongly recommend downloading their (free) podcasts (as well as buying the print issue) which often feature key players in the sport both past and present, e.g.:

That would be Hugh Anderson territory I guess.

Surely with 14 gears it would be more a matter of feel on how many gears to change down for each curve, or corner X knowing it needs to be flicked down three cogs. When racing I'm not always consciously aware of which gear I'm in, more how many gears I need to bang down through approaching each bend, the upshifts kind of take care of themselves when you run out of motor.

Obviously this will not be a popular opinion here, but I think Suzuki are doing the right thing for themselves. Their job is to sell motorcycles and with the changing environment out there and buyer's diminishing interest in extreme sport bikes, the link between racing and sales is becoming very far-fetched indeed. Save the money and concentrate on making useful commuters, adventure bikes, dual-sports, retro bikes, electric bikes even - their future lies there, not in crotch rockets.
And please don't tell me that bikes like V-Strom or TU250 benefit from any race track-derived technology that couldn't be otherwise developed much cheaper through non-racing R&D.

I love moto racing .. but for me, regarding the traffic, the police, the spirit of our "in crisis - we love green " societies, a sport bike on the road is a non sense ...

On the other hand, 3 or 4 millions for a bike in one year if I understand well ... hmm ... ok it's probably too much ... but put a Qatari billion guy in the business, and he will fullfill 50 RCV213 ...

Cristiano Ronaldo costs 25 Stoner's Honda ...

The problem is there: nobody cares about motogp now, it doesn't bring enough money

Make simple rules, simple bikes, rude fights ... in these crisis days, it will be enough

PS: if Rossi fails next year, which is probable, Ducati will leave Motogp for sure ... then who will stay at the end ?

Well, as a current Suzuki Bandit 1250 owner (and some Guzzis and Laverdas), I can honestly say that big bore Suzukis are fantastic value for money. But their GP efforts have been laughable for a long time now. Even Barry Sheene couldn't get a consistent level of commitment or technical acumen out of the factory, and sometimes thay have appeared to know less about what is going on with their bikes than even Ducati......
I've owned many Suzukis over the years from a stove-hot bridge-ported waterbucket to a GS1000S that I wish I had never sold, and which served me well in club racing, but I struggle to support their GP team because it has been a long-running joke in GP racing, with the occasional exception like the Schwantz years.

Ok, fair enough, but Suzuki did have Lucchinelli and Uncini taking the title in the premier class between the Sheene and Schwantz years. Likewise, KR jr. also did the impossible, by taking wins over the invincible Doohan and the rest of the Repsol brigade (and the title in 2000).
Of course, much has to do with the caliber of those riders, but not all was bad with Suzuki. :-)

Having said that, I do recall an interview with Schwantz circa 1992 (?), asking what was wrong or what would he change in his bike, to which he answered "The name in the tank!" :-D

If you know your motorcycle history, racing success seems to lead to reduced sales and eventual demise. See Indian in 1930's, triumph in 1971, MV (regularly), norton in the 50's, and on and on.. I love racing, and the beginning of the end is when the bikes are not available for sale to the racing teams. If the teams had purchased 990's from the manufacturers instead of leasing, they would have both leverage to keep tech from changing, and bikes to modify and develop. The 800's would not have appeared as a cheaper speed limiting method would have shown up (tire width limits).

It's the lease that has killed the motogp. It gave total control to manufacturers.

With talk in this column about the never raced Suzuki 50/ 3 cylinder with 14 gears, it reminded me that there was a bike in the 60s that raced in the GPs with even more gears. The 50cc Kreidler [circa 1964] had a 800 rpm power band, and needed 12 gears [4 speed box and 3 speed overdrive unit].
Later ones had a even narrower power band, and necessitated 18 gears [9 speed box and 2 speed overdrive] I understand the overdrive unit was actuated by the left twistgrip.
Source- The Racing Motor Cycle by Vic Willoughby.