SportMotoGPSuzuki's nonsense

Suzuki's nonsense

The news that the leadership of the Japanese company transferred on Monday of last week to its detachment displaced to Jerez, fell like a shell among the troops. Many of those present took hours to process the information received, both because of the consequences it will have in each of the particular cases, and because of the surprise it caused. No one, not even Livio Suppo , the team manager of the team, hired less than two months ago to lead the project, was able to utter a single word due to his astonishment. His “no comment”, in response to the journalists who came looking for him once broke the story, was the perfect reflection of his perplexed state.

More than a week later, the statement from the Hamamatsu constructor that should confirm the dismantling of one of the best planned and executed MotoGP programs of the last decade, has still not arrived. This weekend the caravan will be settling in again at Le Mans , and Suzuki will have a deathly obligation to say something. Obviously, not the almost 50 troops who travel to the circuits and who are already looking for work. But the company, to justify its goodbye and guarantee its customers that its commitment to them is still valid.

In the last ten years, Suzuki has left MotoGP twice. The first, at the end of 2011; the second will take place once the checkered flag falls for the last grand prix of this 2022, in Valencia, on November 6. In both cases, the leader of the project was Shinichi Sahara , who was also in charge of transmitting the decision, in Jerez. The most plausible difference between the two episodes is that, while on the first occasion the championship had already ended when the news broke, this time everything comes to light when three quarters of the calendar still have to be played. This will clearly worsen the atmosphere within the team during the next Grand Prix, despite the fact that the level of professionalism of its members has been more than contrasted.

Livio Suppo, Shinichi Sahara, Team Suzuki MotoGP

Livio Suppo, Shinichi Sahara, Team Suzuki MotoGP

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

The disbelief of the entire paddock upon knowing the sad path that Suzuki takes is total. In the team itself, in the rest of the formations and in the organization. In part, that incredulity is understandable if we look at the contract that, in theory, guaranteed the manufacturer’s participation in the World Cup, until 2026. The statement that Dorna , the promoter of the event, made public this Tuesday, in which he warns the ‘ deserter’ of the legal and economic consequences that he will have to face, only emphasizes the feeling of sadness that the whole thing provokes. That discrepancy is just one more indication of the nonsense that this flight forward that is so difficult to understand supposes, especially if we take into account the latest movements made by the leadership of the brand’s racing department, and the good role played in this start of championship: Alex Rins arrived in Jerez sharing the leadership of the general table with Fabio Quartararo.

To begin with, no one in their right mind would hire an executive like Suppo and offer him a two-year contract, if they even had the slightest inkling that shutting down the entire racket was an option to contemplate. But, in addition, both Suppo and Sahara sat down several times in recent days with the agents of Rins and Mir, to negotiate the renewal of their agreements. In fact, both riders learned of Suzuki’s intentions 15 minutes before their technicians. Before this jug of cold water, the message sent to the pilots appealed to the general post-coronavirus context, and the instability caused by the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, to justify a reduction in their salaries. Although the first talks did not go too well, subsequent contacts opened a door to optimism. An optimism that will finally be reduced to ashes.

Regardless of the human drama behind such an exit, the impact it will have on the transfer market, which was already in turmoil, will be wild. Mir had been stating since the beginning of this exercise that his intention was to continue dressed in blue. But Suppo’s initial reluctance to give in to his demands caused the world champion of two years ago to make a move. Today, everything seems ready for the #36 to accompany Marc Márquez in the official Honda team, starting in 2023, a maneuver that would make Pol Espargaró move.

Given that at this point in the film it is practically impossible to project an x-ray of what colors each one will wear, it is surely somewhat less random to focus on the teams and motorcycles that will be on the track. Massimo Rivola , CEO of Aprilia in Grand Prix, declared a few days ago to his desire to “study” the feasibility of creating a satellite structure “in the event that an interesting offer arrives”. Before this bombshell went off, RNF had already moved to explore the possibility of partnering with Noale ‘s house and leaving Yamaha. However, the fact that a human group as competent as the one that now makes Suzuki one of the references on the grid, may alter the plans of Razlan Razali , who in just over three years has gone from being the visible face of the success and the strength with which the Sepang Racing Team (SRT) burst into MotoGP (2019), starring in an irremediable free fall: the best positioned is Andrea Dovizioso, 20th, with eight points, two more than Darryn Binder has added (21st), his partner. Both to the team as penultimate, and without much hope of being able to turn that situation around.

In a single year, the ratio between riders and available bikes will have taken a tremendous turn. At the end of 2021, one could have the feeling that there was a lack of riders capable of being competitive with top-level prototypes, now the opposite is happening, and it would not be surprising that some illustrious could be left without a mount. Where will Rins go? What will happen to Franco Morbidelli? Are the renewals of Aleix Espargaró and Maverick Viñales for Aprilia in danger? The departure of Suzuki will make the rest of the teams and factories have more strength when it comes to tightening the pegs on anyone who wants to join, and that is valid for both the riders and the employees, who, unfortunately, are the weakest link. weak in this unfortunate outcome.

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