Three days ago, the bombshell news came out about Suzuki’s decision to leave MotoGP at the end of 2022. So far no official confirmation (nor denial) has been forthcoming from the Hamamatsu factory. Yes, we are all aware of the Golden Week national holiday in Japan, but we cannot forget that lot of careers are hanging on this decision.
We are not just talking about the mechanics and other team members, but the riders themselves too. Because believe it or not, apart from that confidential meeting (that hasn’t remained confidential...) there has been no contact between the team/factory and the riders’ managers. Not with Joan Mir’s manager, for sure, as we have learned.
Anyway this is a crucial year on the rider market, with almost all the current contracts ending at the end of this year. So you all can imagine how upset Paco Sanchez (manager of Joan Mir) is with the current situation.
’This is a really unprofessional attitude’ says the Spaniard's manager, who is coincidentally also a lawyer. ’Nobody from the team or Japan has contacted me to say anything. I understand that Suzuki Motor Corporation obliged the senior team staff not to say anything to anybody. But this is really unfair, unprofessional and an irresponsible way to manage this crisis.’
Sanchez tried to reach Livio Suppo many times from the first moment the news reached him, but his calls were never answered. And if you think that Sanchez (who had left Jerez by Monday) was informed by his rider, you are wrong. He learned it when the journalist who broke the news asked him for a comment.
The Spaniard manager was waiting all Tuesday, before moving into action and starting to reach out to all the team managers who had showed interest in his rider in the past. ’I had waited long enough’ he said Tuesday evening, ’we don’t have any commitment to Suzuki anymore’.
He also emphasized that the rumors about them having a contract with HRC are far from being true. ’From last October our intention was to stay with Suzuki and they also assured me that Joan was their first choice. ’
Sanchez was at Portimão and Jerez as well, and he had several meetings with Suzuki team manager Livio Suppo and MotoGP project leader Shinichi Sahara. They have been finalizing the last couple of details before getting ready to sign a new contract, that as it stands now, will never happen.
Now Sanchez has only one goal: find the best seat for the 2020 World Champion. Maybe it’s still not too late, as apart from Pecco Bagnaia extending with the factory Ducati Team, no other deal has been closed so far this year. Besides Bagnaia, the only seats already filled in factory teams are Marc Marquez with Honda and Brad Binder with KTM through 2024, and Franco Morbidelli with Yamaha for 2023.
It will be interesting to see how the whole situation evolves, how Dorna and the team sponsors will react (the sponsors who also haven’t been informed yet about anything...) and how much will it cost to Suzuki to really leave MotoGP for the second time in a little more than a decade.
If you enjoyed this article, please consider supporting MotoMatters.com. You can help by either taking out a subscription, supporting us on Patreon, by making a donation, or contributing via our GoFundMe page. You can find out more about subscribing to MotoMatters.com here.