Suzuki will withdraw from the MotoGP world championship for the second time this century at the end of 2022, citing financial reasons and a change in market trends.
However, their last home appearance, at the Japanese Grand Prix, proved disastrous, with Alex Rins retiring due to a slow puncture in his front tyre, and Takuya Tsuda, Joan Mir’s replacement through injury, whose bike came out on fire.
Team boss Livio Suppo watched as the team added another double DNF, their fourth of the season , in front of their home crowd. That is why the fact of racing again this weekend, with the Thai Grand Prix, is the only positive thing about his sad farewell at home.
“Naturally, this is not how we wanted Suzuki’s home GP to go, nor how we wanted to say goodbye to the amazing Japanese fans,” Suppo said in a team statement.
“Tsuda’s GSX-RR caught fire after a small leak, but luckily the driver is fine. Alex suffered damage to the front wheel in hard braking on the kerb, and had to pit.”
“The only positive thing is that we don’t have time to reflect on the poor results today, because we will go directly to Thailand and start to focus on it.”
Takuya Tsuda, Equipo Suzuki MotoGP
Photo: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
Rins corroborated Suppo’s explanations , and confirmed that his puncture occurred after an impact with the piano on the first lap. “I made a good start, I made up a lot of positions,” said Rins. “But then in turn three on the first lap I ran out of space and started braking on the outside curb.
“Everything was going well. But lap after lap I was losing the front end. It was closing in front of me completely, and I was constantly lifting the bike off the ground. It was then that I decided to go into [the pits], because there was something that was not normal in the tire”.
“Then in the pits, in the data, they saw that after four or five laps the front tire started losing air. It looks like it was a puncture or the tire moved.
“It’s a disaster,” Rins said. “We had a good pace, everyone was a bit unsure about the tire choice, there wasn’t much time to set up the bike. It is what it is.”
“This is the last time here for Suzuki. Tsuda literally went up in flames. But it is what it is.”
A similar incident with a curb forced Enea Bastianini to retire at the last Austrian GP, with damage to the rim of his front wheel.
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