Dorna have officially responded to the reports that Suzuki will be withdrawing from MotoGP at the end of the 2022 season. Dorna have pointed out that Suzuki signed a five-year contract to race in MotoGP from 2022 through 2026, and that they do not have the right to unilaterally terminate the contract.
The statement is a warning to Suzuki that there will be legal consequences for withdrawal. Dorna changed their contractual arrangements with the factories after Kawasaki pulled out of MotoGP at the end of 2008. Previously, Dorna had a contract with the MSMA, representing all of the factories participating, which gave them no leverage over individual parties. From 2016, Dorna signed contracts with each factory separately, giving them a much more powerful enforcement mechanism. If Suzuki go through with their plan to withdraw, they will face serious legal consequences.
The Dorna statement also points out that there is no shortage of interest in MotoGP. Teams are interested in taking the two grid slots which will be freed up by Suzuki's withdrawal, meaning they believe they will be able to maintain the grid at 24 bikes for the foreseeable future. MotoGP grid slots are more valuable to teams than Moto2 or Moto3, as they are far more heavily subsidized by Dorna.
So far, no statement has been forthcoming from Suzuki. It is currently 'Ōgon Shūkan', or Golden Week in Japan, a week of national holidays in which a lot of offices are closed. That may help explain why the team has yet to issue a press release, as it may not be possible to get such a statement officially signed off by Suzuki HQ in Hamamatsu. That, too, makes the timing of the Suzuki statement even more curious.
The official Dorna statement appears below:
Statement from Dorna Sports regarding Suzuki
Tuesday, 03 May 2022
Following recent rumours of Suzuki departing MotoGP™ at the end of 2022, Dorna Sports has officially contacted the factory in order to remind them that the conditions of their contract to race in MotoGP™ do not allow for them to take this decision unilaterally.
However, should Suzuki depart following an agreement between both parties, Dorna will decide on the ideal number of riders and teams racing in the MotoGP™ class from 2023.
Dorna continues to receive high levels of interest from a number of both official factories and Independent Teams looking to join the MotoGP™ grid as the sport continues to set a global example of close competition, innovation and entertainment, reaching hundreds of millions of fans around the world.
Interest from these parties has been re-confirmed in the past 24 hours.