Suzuki Make MotoGP Withdrawal Official, End EWC Participation From 2023

Suzuki and Dorna have finally agreed terms for the Japanese factory's withdrawal from MotoGP. In a press release issued today, Suzuki made official that they would be pulling out of the MotoGP championship at the end of the 2022 season, and ending the participation of the Suzuki Ecstar MotoGP team. At the same time, they announced they would be withdrawing from official participation in the EWC Endurance World Championship, where they race under the Yoshimura SERT Motul banner.

The announcement brings to an end the surprising saga of Suzuki's MotoGP exit. News first emerged at the end of the MotoGP test at Jerez, on the Monday after the Spanish Grand Prix. It took nearly two weeks for those rumors to be confirmed by an official press release stating that talks had begun with Dorna over a withdrawal.

Those talks have now been completed. Though no details have been announced, it is likely that Suzuki will have paid a sizable penalty to terminate their contract. Those penalties were put in place when contracts with the factories were renewed in 2016, Dorna drawing on lessons learned by the exit of Kawasaki from MotoGP at the end of 2008, and Suzuki (the first time) at the end of 2011.

The MotoGP withdrawal also means an end for the Suzuki Ecstar team. Alex Rins has already signed for LCR Honda, and Joan Mir is close to a deal with Repsol Honda, a sign that the team is also splitting up. Other team members are in the process of looking elsewhere for employment. With funding for the team provided almost entirely by Suzuki, there was never a chance of the team continuing as an independent entity.

The withdrawal from the EWC endurance championship is a little more of a surprise. The Yoshimura SERT Motul team are currently leading the FIM EWC standings, and have won multiple championships.

The reasons Suzuki give for pulling out of both MotoGP and EWC is a shift in focus toward sustainable transport. However, this move is part of a larger shift by Suzuki out of racing. The Japanese factory stopped supporting the Crescent Suzuki WorldSBK team at the end of 2015, and pulled factory support from MXGP at the end of 2017.

There are still Suzuki teams racing in BSB and MotoAmerica, but they are privateer, distributor and dealer supported operations, rather than factory efforts. In the press release, Suzuki promise to continue support for racing at the national level through through their network of distributors.

It is clear, both from the press release and from Suzuki's previous actions in other series, that Suzuki does not believe in the benefits of racing for their business plan. Factories go racing for a lot of reasons - marketing is arguably the biggest reason to go racing, but racing also provides a platform to do R&D and learn lessons which can be transferred into production, as well as help train engineers to think quickly and clearly about motorcycle dynamics - but none of them have been sufficient to convince Suzuki.

Whether this will have any knock-on effects for their production motorcycle division remains to be seen. If there is to be a shift to developing sustainable transport solutions, there could also be consequences for Suzuki's street bikes.

The press release from Suzuki appears below:


ENDING MOTOGP™ AND EWC FACTORY PARTICIPATION AT THE END OF THE 2022 SEASON

Team Suzuki Press Office – July 13.

Suzuki Motor Corporation and Dorna have come to an agreement to terminate Suzuki’s participation in MotoGP at the end of the 2022 season. Suzuki will also terminate its factory participation in the World Endurance Championship (EWC) at the end of the 2022 season.

We will continue to race in the 2022 MotoGP and EWC championships, maintaining our maximum efforts to win the remaining races. We aim to continue our support for our customers’ racing activities through our global distributor network.

We would like to express our deepest gratitude to all Suzuki fans who have given us their enthusiastic support and to all those who have supported Suzuki's motorcycle racing activities for many years.

Quote from Toshihiro Suzuki, Representative Director and President

“Suzuki has decided to end the participation of MotoGP and EWC in the face of the need to re-allocate resources on other initiatives for sustainability. Motorcycle racing has always been a challenging place for technological innovation, including sustainability, and human resource development. This decision means that we will take on the challenge to build the new motorcycle business operation by redirecting the technological capabilities and human resources we have cultivated through the motorcycle racing activities to investigate other routes for a sustainable society.

“I would like to express my deepest gratitude to all our fans, riders and all stakeholders who joined us and enthusiastically supported us from the development stage since we returned to MotoGP racing.

“I will continue to do my best to support Alex Rins, Joan Mir, Team SUZUKI ECSTAR and YOSHIMURA SERT MOTUL to compete competitively until the end of the season.

“Thank you for your kind support.”

Source: 

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Comments

Sustainable transport? Instead of racing?

Will they be giving out artisanally crafted, locally sourced vegan soy latte enemas with each new electric scooter they try to sell to no one?

Adiós Suzuki!  

When a corporation uses the word “sustainable transport” they are the ones injecting culture into things. 
 

But if they had just said racing is expensive and we’d rather spend that money on our electric car/bike efforts, I’d understand and take that as a smart business decision. 
 

They are pandering to a new audience. 

Should they be working towards unsustainable transport? I think that the issues of culture in that phrase belong more to a particular inference than any implication from Suzuki.

Obviously they should be talking about "Sustainable mobility" sert duc.

Which is more than just transport, it's also PR, virtue signaling, following the trend etc. Mobility includes clogging up the lanes, footpaths sidewalks, cycleways and waterways with substandard e-scooters as well as actually transporting people & goods.

Sayonara Slowzuki. I will remember the good times, Barry Sheene, Kenny Lee Roberts, Joan Mir, Chris Vermeulen at Le mans. Troy Corser Suzuki's one and only SBK champion, iirc.

Little Leon Haslam pipped that Italian rider at P.I. It was the closest finish in SBK history at the time. Fab? Fabrizio? Not Fabrizio Pirovano. 

Suzuki is addressing a future that does not include 100 plus horsepower ICE powered motorcycles. Their profits are coming from cheap cars in the south Asian market not from bikes in Europe and North America. Honda and Yamaha would probably like to do the same but their corporate heritage is more tied to racing. The Italian makers and KTM are even more tied to racing and will stay. Suzuki will be missed.

The primary sustainability Suzuki seeks is financial sustainability. Two-wheeled road racing has become a financial abyss, requiring more resources than can be matched against offsetting revenues. If board members at certain companies squint hard enough, they can make out the silhouette of an indirect business case for road racing, but it's getting more difficult to see, particularly when a stalwart sponsor, like Repsol, preaches fire and brimstone. 

The situation would be less frustrating if the canary had not already died from black lung 15 years ago. AMA Superbike was the canary, and when it died, Daytona Motorsports Group rebuked the motorcycle racing industry, accusing the industry of "robbing the same few trains". In other words, every series was merely dipping into the retained earnings of the manufacturers, none more so than AMA Superbike. The industry desperately needs sanctioning fees from local governments and race tracks, television/media revenue, and sponsorship money. This will be paid to the teams, who pay the manufacturers for equipment. The direct sources of revenue will be the basis for funding prototyping activities, replacing indirect revenues from consumer motorcycle sales.  

There are a few signs that Dorna is slowly plodding towards financial sustainability. Reintroducing homologation specials to WSBK and adopting a new BoP formula. In MotoGP they forced through a spec-ECU and limited engine development. But these are half measures ultimately. It's unclear if Dorna are dragging their feet, hoping for an economic high tide to raise all ships, or if they are working on a major realignment behind the scenes. 

Bottom line, international motorcycle racing series have 6 independent classes, each with their own type of machinery and competitive formula. The manufacturers generally have funds to participate in 1 or 2 classes. I don't see how the FIM gets out of the predicament without merging MotoGP and WSBK, while eliminating 1/3 to 1/2 of the classes.

Regarding the specifics of Suzuki's withdrawal, leaving EWC is a curious move. Suzuki is successful, and, unless I'm mistaken, the series actually uses the standard Superbike model, not the WSBK homologation special. Suzuki do not currently have a homologation special available to Superbike competitors. Perhaps their withdrawal from EWC indicates that EWC will be adopting a new ruleset similar to WSBK?

^ Well thought out! 

Not just racing has been a financial abyss, sportbike production too. They are changing their plan. It has to happen, eh?

No one seems to be preparing for an economic high tide to raise all ships. Contrary, now is "batten down the hatches" bracing for 2008 the bigger sequel. Suzuki may be smart here, they are small in stature and bouyancy. 

Leaving Endurance is odd given low cost and their success. But it is consistent with pulling out of moto racing, they are "all out." 

Always have seen lots of Suzukis at the Regional racing. They pay out based on your finish. For us cheapo low budget racers, it made sense. We ran 4 different Suzuki models in the team. 

Brace yourself for rough waters. Ducati may have just overextended itself. Yamaha is at its leanest, on the other end of things.

The pandemic was more refractory for the Japanese. The 3 Euro manus better buckle up. Hoping Aprilia keeps galloping through the storm. 

I'm sure I heard this in the podcast it, the Ducati MotoE bike, is heavy Hayabusa heavy. That's Suzuki's rep now is it. they make a big lump. Performs quite well for such a large & massive motorcycle. So massive that time seems to slow down!

They broke up with us. It is a risk in love. It was worth it. (2020 Swoon!)

Best wishes on your future doing wee Hamamatsu non moto things. The Rizla bike was pretty, but this latest one is gorgeous. I will always appreciate it! The GSXR750 too. You were a much better partner than Kawasaki. I will still wear the jersey as a post breakup momento. P.S. thanks for the divorce settlement payment so we can all move on. 

P.S. if you see me around with your old friend Aprilia, it is because I am reminded of you but more exotic. 

I just ordered a 1/12 scale Tamiya model kit of Mir's 2020 bike. It'll go in the cabinet with the other 17 rare and lovely models I have, all a bit special to me.

I’ve never really seen a correlation between racing involvement and the sporting, brand image, or even merely technical, aspect of vehicles. Look at Harley’s long time involvement in US flat track, and now Indian’s. Or Chevy and Honda in Indy Cars (as engine suppliers), Toyota in World Endurance, etc. Of the Japanese brands, I think of Kawasaki and Suzuki as the most race-oriented, because of their long involvement in US road racing, but nothing lasts. If J. Rea wins WSBK this year, Kawasaki may be the next to go …

If the members of the ain’t it awful movement would care to reflect for a moment, mightn’t they agree that this year so far has been one of the best in all the MotoGP classes for some time, with full grids and generally safer, closer racing. And in WSBK. And BSB. I don’t know about AMA. But keep on moaning, catastrophising, spreading the group think negativity that pervades social media, falling for the misdirection of PR people and journos with jobs to keep and axes to grind, and you’ll kill the sport you love. I’m not blind to its weaknesses, but I’m not blind to its strengths either. And I can recognise when a manufacturer is ventriloquising through its main sponsor, instead of rising to the challenge of building bikes that work and won’t beat the living daylights out of the sport’s greatest talent and star attraction. If you’re concerned about crowd numbers and safety, that’s your problem right there - not arm pump - as if this was something new - or aero and shape shifters - but the manufacturer that has been treating the sport as its private fiefdom and riders as crash dummies. 

I don't think Honda are a problem. I think we're quite blessed that they are here. I think if the race day crowd was small and the TV was maybe possibly slightly interested on a good day, Honda would still be racing. Going on evidence of the past so would Yamaha. The different corporations have different values. If Yamaha can continue to race but Suzuki cannot then the issue isn't the cost in simple terms of coin. I think the issue is the value each put on the exercise of racing. That value is different for each and I think it's nice to see Suzuki sticking to theirs. For Suzuki, currently, the cost exceeds the value they put on racing. I'm not sure what has changed. Suzuki have the coin to race, no doubt. Do they see racing as less valuable now or has the cost changed...or both ? I think the cost has increased. Mr Oxley's latest offering is interesting.

Michio Suzuki founded Suzuki Loom Works in 1909 and began developing and producing weaving looms for the booming silk industry. Business was very good for thirty years. Seeking diversification during this era, and based on consumer demand, Suzuki also began building prototype cars. At the onset of World War ll, the government declared passenger cars "non-essential commodities," so Suzuki went back to producing looms until the cotton market collapsed in 1951. At that time, Japan was in need of affordable transportation. Suzuki's first two-wheeled vehicle consisted of a "clip-on" engine attached to a bicycle. By 1954, Suzuki was producing 6,000 motorcycles per month. In 1955, they produced a very successful front-wheel drive car with four-wheel independent suspension and rack-and-pinion steering - decades before those features became commonplace. It was then that Suzuki officially changed the company's name to Suzuki Motor Corporation. A typhoon destroyed their assembly plant in 1959. The new assembly plant was completed in 1960, and that was the year that Suzuki entered their first Grand Prix race at the Isle of Man TT. But they continued to produce cars.

A corporation is an organization—usually a group of people or a company - authorized by the state to act as a single entity (a legal entity recognized by private and public law "born out of statute"; a legal person in legal context) and recognized as such in law for certain purposes. The organization called Suzuki Motor Corporation originated in the mind of a single man with an expanded view of what was needed in times dictated by forces beyond his control. Through two World Wars, and other great challenges, the Suzuki Corporation has had to redefine their identity, to change the character of their identity, in order to continue to exist today. And when one identifies with a brand, a corporation, a single entity (by law a legal person) that changes the character of their identity, the characters of one's own identity may have a problem with that. When someone acts out of character, whether it be a person or a corporation, one's own character can become disturbed from the lack of constancy. 

I don't have a problem with Suzuki pulling out of motorcycle racing at this time. Probably because my character's survival does not feel threatened by the demise of their racing aspirations. Plus, I take Suzuki's medium range goals at face value. They aim to electrify all vehicles by the 2030s. Suzuki states they are concerned about their legacy, the products they produce, and the impact those products have on the health of the planet and the quality of life for future generations. So why continue to invest in gasoline powered prototype racing bikes when those resources could be used towards the changes (due to forces beyond their control) that are already happening? Suzuki is reacting according to their corporate (personal) interest, maybe with one eye on the bigger picture. And interestingly, Volkswagen held a 20% share of Suzuki from 2009 - 2015, which may have played a part in how the cheat devices ended up on their vehicles.

Will Suzuki return to Grand Prix with an electric bike in fifteen years? Where will Motogp be in fifteen years? Looking back to the last year of the 990cc era at Assen (granted a high speed track without a lot of hard acceleration points), the stats reveal that Motogp's fastest pole and race laps were bettered by the Moto2 class in 2015 and 2021. And Moto2's race time from a year or two ago at Assen was quicker than the equal number of laps in 2006. If the speeds of the Motogp bikes are reeled in and the development of the Moto2 machines is allowed to continue unabated, what's going to happen there? The viewpoint that there are too many ice-bike classes might be correct. 

Anyone have direct knowledge of ceramic silicon batteries? Apparently they are very power dense and have much quicker charging times. A light Ebike might help with the physical limitation problem - no shifting and no reciprocating mass producing gyroscopic forces in the giant lump just behind the front wheel. A lump that engineers can shape without the restrictions required by a piston engine's design requirements.  

I agree with TonyG, cheers. However, just to point out the veenslang to ruskenhoek section was different in 2006 and the track was a lot more bumpy if I remember right. They changed it for 2010 but the old track is still there, maybe they use it for other races. When I say old I don't mean the old old just the old. The old old was an amazing run from the old strubben all the way to stekkenwal and I think was altered even before they dumped the northern loop. Instead of a fast right sweep, as there is today, it was changed to be a much slower right and flop over almost immediately into the left. The current layout has mostly cut the right out and approaches the left from a different angle making that section a lot faster. I know it's still a great track but the old track with the northern loop, that run from strubben to stekkenwal and on to de bult was epic.

Ah okay, thanks for the info WaveyD. I do aspire to visit Assen during the circus weekend one of these years. Only made it to Amsterdam a few years ago. Really cool city. Very bike friendly.

You're welcome mate. The stats are quite impressive from both sides. Moto2 in 2015 with 600cc are doing well even with the newer layout. They had spec engines, spec tyres, no electronic aids compared to 990cc, electronics galore and a tyre war. Also impressive that the moto2 pole position is faster in 2015 than in 2021 despite having less electronics and 165cc less. I guess track conditions play a major role. Worth noting that the 1000cc in 2015 were a full 3.7 seconds quicker than the Moto2 pole.

^ Hiya, nice to see you folks!

Past, Assen when neutered a few racers spoke openly like it was a personal loss. There were so few "riders tracks," so many were passionate about Assen. New tracks were coming from Tilke and a computer. Mounds and hills were made (foreshadowing, poorly sometimes). Sad, at least we have Phillip Island and such. (I love Portimao!)

Now, E-bikes look good for trials. The KTM E Motox looks good. Cross country w shorter range loops do too, silent is good out there! Drag racing an electric AWD car is basically plug and play Supercar level, at least for standing 1/4 mile et al. (I am not a good source re this further, are they on circuits with ICE? Not that I noticed casually).

E-bikes JUST shared track with ICE at Laguna Seca Super Hooligans. Just not competitively. And those are unfaired Duke 890 twins as a prime competitor, which are just below Supersport. The E-bikes there are nothing special, Energica and Zero production stuff. 

Future? Arriving quickly is a lighter MotoE. A few more E bikes are coming. I see E-bicycles all over town. I want a E-Mountain bike but not shelling out that big $.

From standing start, and on a track with stop start corners then straights the E Motos could be fairly strong? I'm just getting curious. Even that is new.

Keeping an eye out here with some interest...

Husky E-pilen. It is still in its conceptual phase, but it’ll be all the better for it. With a vroom-vroom aesthetic and plans for whippet-like speeds, the Husqvarna E-Pilen is certainly one to keep your eye on. Look out for full production within the next 2 years. (Orange is getting E bikes noticed). They utilize a developed power train in LOTS of bikes, so once there is a small sporty one...? And then there is that CF Moto in China that got its bikes packing local KTM motors. China is big in the battery game and cheap E bikes. Future...

I miss the old Assen. Looking back at it though, when compared to today, crazy track. Huge respect for the racers.

About e-bikes. Remember the 500's ? Things were never the same after they went. Same will be true if the whole championship switched to e-bikes. Nevertheless, the new worked out ok. Same will be true again...if they switch. Still need the light bike noise from Tron though.

Hopefully, none of we fans have our identities wrapped up in MotoGP or motorcycle racing. Personally, I care about the people who've dedicated their lives to motorcycle racing. Nearly all of them are interesting people, with a strange proclivity for going fast, and it's sad when lazy manufacturers like Suzuki leave them on a street corner. To be fair to Suzuki, the FIM and it's agents have done very little to improve the business model, but you'd expect more from Suzuki than this.

It's also difficult to take their mission statement at face value, since there isn't nearly enough raw material or battery capacity to electrify all new vehicles. The planet is also woefully short of electricity.