American Suzuki racing fans will look forward to Suzuki’s return to MotoGP.
At the end of the 2011 MotoGP season, Suzuki packed up its one-bike team, turned off the garage lights, and pulled out of the series, citing the worldwide economy’s accelerating spiral down the drain as the reason. The factory left open the possibility of a return in 2014, however, and now there are signs that wasn’t just a face-saving statement made on the way out the door.
Dorna, the rights holder of the MotoGP series, is in talks with Suzuki about coming back after the 2013 season. Suzuki is asking to take part in a few test days next year, which might herald the return of a factory that had been in racing for 37 years before bailing in 2011.
There’s speculation that Suzuki might go the same route as Honda and Yamaha to save costs when it comes back. Honda is planning to sell a customer version of its RC213V factory bike to private teams, and Yamaha says it will lease engines and electronics from the M1. Suzuki could provide its new GSV-R to privateers on a lease or purchase basis to help finance the factory effort.
How the Suzuki factory effort will slot into the deep division between the haves (Ducati, Honda, and Yamaha factory efforts, plus the well-funded satellite teams) and the have-nots (the CRT machines) obviously remains to be seen. A robust factory lineup that spins off “affordable” customer machines could spell the end of the CRT experiment.