Dorna Issue Statement On Suzuki Withdrawal - Remind Suzuki Of Contractual Obligations

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.

Source: 

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Comments

Maybe they are leaving unless a, b and c happens. Dorna saying we don't need you, others want in and they'd accept things as they are without a, b and c.

MotoGP’s brand is not improved by having a manufacturer that doesn’t want to race. This press release seems to be a message to Dorna’s sponsors, customers, and government partners that Suzuki can be replaced, and they will be squeezed for money.

I doubt everyone involved would be happy if Suzuki was forced to continue for 4 more years. They clearly don't want to be involved anymore, so what would funding look like? Worst case would be to do the bare minimum to run the team, and not put any money into upgrading the package. Soon enough it'd be a backmarker while everyone else makes progress.

You'd have thought at this level Suzuki would have contacted Dorna before making the statement.

Either way it's embarrassing for the Japanese manufacturer.

Perhaps at this point the Suzuki management are listening to The Clash (should I stay or should I go) ?

Perhaps some of Suzuki's engine development people could make their way over to Yamaha with a suitcase full of ponies? Suzuki doesn't need to do any street bike engine development for another 20 years. 

isn't just the riders. Great point. Inline 4 power tech has to be worth some money. Aero data, chassis data. Suzuki owns the IP and that might have a price above and beyond the people. One has to wonder if Suzuki put out feelers on this before the announcement. Certainly would help to offset exit costs and must have been part of the calculus.

Hell, maybe they reached an agreement with dark blue outfit before the announcement. Would certainly help with Yammy's Q contract.

Forget the IP, it's a turn-key satellite team with a proven track record of testing and rider development. It's a nice idea to think of them pre-arranging the sale before dismantling the team, but I can't imagine such a bombshell could have been kept under wraps for all the time it would have taken to hammer out such a deal.

Is an entity outside of the factory bike and tech which can be sold separately. Adds another dimension to the value present in a factory squad. Of course much of this depends on contract makeup etc.  I'm sure there are channels of communication beyond our understanding among these Japanese conglomerates, but perhaps it was just a move that had to occur come whatever. Regardless, the sales should bring value back into Suzuki's coffers. Break even? A profit? There's definitely a cost that must be overcome. Wonder if it will become apparent in the Suzuki financials or, more excitingly, in terms of the buyers on the track. Time will tell.

It will be hard to look at Suzuki in the same light after this.  While I wouldn't want them to run the company into the ground and fold, this news makes it unlikely that I would buy a Suzuki anytime soon.  I still haven't forgiven Kawasaki...

The idea that a MotoGP team is more important than Suzuki's survival, the jobs of its employees, the people it has a fiduciary obligation to is kind of childish and ridiculous.

I think the abrupt manner and terrible communication behind this alleged decision sucks, but I don't blame Suzuki for doing what it needs to do to keep the lights on. Motorcycle sales still haven't recovered from the pandemic and Suzuki doesn't have any huge conglomerate to lean on. Let's look at things a little more broadly and consider factors beyond our own entertainment.

There is a TON going on. Easy there, little is personal. 

(I am trying to self monitor my track limits warnings, plus blow lots of stuff off that isn't right for me).

Hey, anything more re that bit someone said that Suzuki agreed w Dorna to continue next yr? 

(Dumb joke)

"Hayate!"

"Bless you"

Please have the bike here longer, it is SO good! Buckled up for a big recession arrival btw. 

This thread is starting to look like a Twitter! I closed my Twitter account because of its 'escalatory nature'!

Thank you, Swifty. I had started wondering if this site has been 'crashed' by people from another site. That would be a shame. I much prefer the muttering to the twittering. I subscribed here because of the intelligent and knowledgeable content from David and mutterers alike, and the good-natured humour, even when things are in contention. Would hate to lose that.

See what you're doing here with the rapid insertion of a defusing post and appreciate it. A physical as well as emotional gap for a smoldering fuse. Mindfullness in pursuit of a quantum of solace.

"If Suzuki go through with their plan to withdraw, they will face serious legal consequences."

Not really, it just depends how much a jerk Suzuki wants to be about it. I'd be stunned if they don't have a figure in mind as a walk-away payment to Dorna. If Dorna don't want it and they lawyer up judges in commercial disputes tend to look poorly upon plantiffs who reject settlement offers. After that if the Suzuki board isn't interested in ever coming back they can liquidate the assets (not hard given the current global shortages) and wind up the entity that's doing the racing. Dorna can knock themselves out suing something that doesn't exist.

It is not the first time that Suzuki have walked away.

The difference this time is that the bike is competitive, looks good and the engine layout is related to what they are selling.

the saucy girls in uniforms carrying handcuffs.. what in the name blue blazes was that all about!? It pre-dated 50 Shades Of Grey.

...is what Suzuki are doing.

if (win_on_Sunday_sell_on Monday_uplift) is less than (4_year_running_costs + penalty_payment + bad_publicity_costs) then -> run_for_hills.

I think the major unknown is the 'bad_publicity_costs' part. For us fans it seems nose-bleedingly high, but for a punter choosing a 125cc it may not matter much.

Maybe Suzuki have worked out that MotoGP with aero and ride height devices is too detached from road bikes to be a profit-making sales tool any more? Their entry into SBK would prove that point - but I'm not holding my breath.

The warning from Dorna has now been removed from MotoGP.com - perhaps some conciliatory conversations are underway? 

Mir to Honda? Why not Aprilia? Maybe Pol's seat is available and Mav's is not, and Mir doesn't want to get caught out in the game of musical bikes. Especially when two are being removed from the dance floor. But entering the den of Marquez? Mir has a strong head, and who knows? He may really shine on the RCV. To think that there could be four inline fours in '23. Or even two? Bizarre. Silly season is starting with a major twist that no one saw coming. Except maybe the head honchos in the Suzuki boardroom. Unless it was an impulsive decision linked to the accusations of commercial fraud. 

I wonder if Dorna will make a play for Suzuki’s engine. Not sure what that would look like. Maybe they get Suzuki to supply engines for the remainder of their contract to four teams, then they work a deal for a private team to buy the bike, and they take over the chassis development. Suzuki would not really be gone, and they could make some money leasing their engine. This is assuming Suzuki actually owns the entire engine, and none of the tech is licensed or leased from others.

Would be really interesting to get Suzuki to supply detuned engines for a new Moto1 class and the boot the Moto3 children back to their national series. Not sure if there is enough coin in the GP paddock to make Moto1 work, but it would be a nice incubator for engineering and riding talent. SBK would still be far more attractive for most private racing teams.

 

Dorna is not going to go right back into business with a factory that just dropped this bombshell on it’s own people first, plus the rest of the paddock on top of it, Dorna and sponsors included.  

Dorna isn't going to create a Moto1 class anyway, but they could convince Suzuki to supply two teams with engines for 4 bikes. Suzuki is leaving for financial reasons. That's not a betrayal, and Dorna doesn't have time to be offended. This could be an opportunity for Dorna to bring chassis builders into MotoGP, if they are still interested in going that direction. 

Motorcycle sales and motorcycle racing viewership are waning in the developed world, and regulators are using emissions specifications to put even more pressure on the sportbike industry. Only 3 manufacturers can be counted on to race every year. Dorna doesn't really have any leverage, other than a sympathetic judiciary in the Eurozone. It's in Dorna's best interest to maintain commercial relations with Suzuki within the Grand Prix paddock. They already lost one Japanese manufacturer permanently. 

The idea of a Suzuki powered...say...Kalex would be really nice and interesting. However, I think the big problem is that Suzuki wouldn't be committed to the project. For Kalex it would be a dead end. It might make some sense financially compared to running the whole deal yourself but it would be Kalex, KALEX, KALEX !!!! and suzuki. They are walking away from having the full large font neon flashing SUZUKI because it's of a lesser priority than 'other things'. Where would they magic the motivation needed ?

Suzuki, for whatever reason, do not see MotoGP as a beneficial marketing exercise, even when they are competitive. Therefore, they aren't motivated by having their name on the side of the bike. They are apparently motivated by money. Suzuki can eliminate 90% of their costs by halting their factory team, and they can supply 2 teams by building 30-35 engines a season.

Suzuki acting as an engine supplier may never happen for a variety of reasons, the most glaring of which is shapeshifters. The engine is useless unless the team has a competitive rear shapeshifter. Adapting the bike to biofuels probably isn't helping matters either. 

So, no name on the side of the bike...tick. Still costs money...tick. Put lots of effort and direct talented engineers to make a better engine for little benefit...tick. As supplier open to getting kicked by customer in the press as reason for poor performance...tick. Shape shifters or no shape shifters.

FYI Suzuki is closed a couple days for national holidays, that is why we aren't hearing anything. Friday or Monday should have more. 

I can't find anything besides the Dorna response saying they can't just leave because of contracts.

Curious about how much money Suzuki has been getting from sponsors, it sounds like they haven't had strong funding?

Everyone

Can't

Spend

Their

Assets

Racing

No more info yet strengthening the rumor that Razali is talking with Aprilia to change bikes at year's end. But someone in Spain thinks so. That would be a hard decision. 

Thank you Motoshrink! Got a chuckle out of that.

Sayonara* Suzuki and thanks for all the sushi.

This is all rather sad. Another excellent team not supported by management.

I read that Suzuki's racing department isn't on the career path to the top. It is or was at Honda, Ducati for sure!

Evolution in action, if you can stay at the front of the pack, you are fit. If you can't survive the competition, you're unfit.

We will see

* Goodbye, I don't know when we will see you again.

Holding people to their contract is always an end game. No marriage ever recovered, let alone thrived, after one party said to the other “I just don’t want to be with you anymore”. But I’m sure the cooler heads in both Dorna and Suzuki will want an amicable parting, because you never know what lies around the next corner.

The surprise nature of this announcement does have me wondering though whether it’s a gambit by Suzuki. Are they after something within MotoGP they can’t get through persuasion? More financial support? A ban on aero? Different tyres? Less races? It may not be a bad time to play those kind of cards, despite the looming recession. We’re coming out of COVID (feels like it’s already been forgotten here in the UK), the fans are beginning to flock back to the events, the money is starting to flow in again, and Suzuki’s value to the series is relatively high.

Holding people to their contract is always an end game. No marriage ever recovered, let alone thrived, after one party said to the other “I just don’t want to be with you anymore”. But I’m sure the cooler heads in both Dorna and Suzuki will want an amicable parting, because you never know what lies around the next corner.

The surprise nature of this announcement does have me wondering though whether it’s a gambit by Suzuki. Are they after something within MotoGP they can’t get through persuasion? More financial support? A ban on aero? Different tyres? Less races? It may not be a bad time to play those kind of cards, despite the looming recession. We’re coming out of COVID (feels like it’s already been forgotten here in the UK), the fans are beginning to flock back to the events, the money is starting to flow in again, and Suzuki’s value to the series is relatively high.

Ultimately the manufactures are guided by consumer demand and the days of racing with internal combustion engines may be numbered simply because of the number of people and governments embracing Electric Vehicles. Perhaps Suzuki are playing the economic long-game and accepting that EVs will in fact dominate at some point in the near future. They’ll continue to get leverage from being World Champions for a couple of years by which time consumer demand may have changed to EVs. 

FWIW I have zero interest in MotoE and feel it should be a prototype class with a number manufacturers to encourage a wider source of technological development that could ultimately end up in the showroom.