Suzuki is preparing to end its participation in MotoGP after the 2022 campaign is through, according to a report published by Autosport midday Monday. A mainstay of grand prix motorcycle racing, Suzuki left the premier class championship in 2011 before returning in 2015. Five years later, Joan Mir won the riders title on a Suzuki — the first time that had happened since Kenny Roberts Jr. in 2000. And two years after that, the blue team will be calling it quits once again.
The news apparently comes as a surprise not only to fans but the team itself. Suzuki executives gathered team personnel on Monday to make the announcement, Autosport reported, and employees didn’t see it coming.
Mir is currently sixth in the championship, while teammate Alex Rins is enjoying a strong start to the season in fourth. The 2020 champion has been linked to a move to Honda, where he’ll likely partner Marc Marquez; meanwhile Rins’ future “remains very unclear,” per the article. That’s a shame, because while Rins has always been quick, he hasn’t necessarily always been consistent, and he’s finally managed to achieve both over the first six races of 2022.
As for Suzuki, the manufacturer is ending its factory effort when there’s still everything to play for, and the team has a very strong bike under two very competitive riders. While not typically the quickest in a single lap, the latest GSX-RR has exhibited strong straight-line speed and is relatively gentle on its tires, so it tends to come alive late in races. It’s not at all uncommon to watch one or both Suzukis slice up the field in the waning laps of a grand prix, and that’s an added bit of drama we’ll surely miss after the year’s through.
Suzuki has yet to make an official statement as to the reason for its departure, though we should know more soon. Mir and Rins finished sixth and 19th, respectively, on Sunday at the most recent race in Jerez.