Although an official announcement is still to be made by Suzuki, shocked team members were told of the factory’s exit plans at last week’s Jerez test.
In response to the ‘rumours’, Dorna then issued a statement reminding Suzuki that it can’t just leave MotoGP unilaterally, meaning an agreement would need to be reached over the remaining four years of its current five-year MotoGP contract.
“My initial thoughts were, if I was in the Suzuki team I’d have been well and truly pee’d off,” said former British champion and grand prix rider Huewen. “Nobody had a clue this was coming and you can only blame the board back in Japan.
“They’ve made this decision. It can only be financial. My theory is that Suzuki have had a kneejerk reaction to sales and – despite the fact they are so successful on the racetrack – they’ve yanked the rug.
“On a human level, it’s an absolute disaster for the team. On a professional level, it’s very nearly as bad and it’s devastating from a race fan’s point of view.
“While it’s a disaster of Suzuki’s making, it might turn out to be fiscally the correct thing to do, given the situation with the world market related to the war in Ukraine. I can see 2023 as an awkward year where everybody is going to be reeling back from extra costs.
“Maybe Suzuki have looked at their books a little bit harder and have seen there isn’t that correlation between grand prix racing and their road bike sales and have decided to jump early.”
‘We’ve had Brexit, now we’ve got Sexit’
Nonetheless, Huewen is sure Suzuki will pay a high price for walking away after just one year of their present five-year MotoGP contract, partly to dissuade other manufacturers from doing the same.
“You can be sure there’s a rock-solid contract [between Dorna and Suzuki], but it’s not in anybody’s interest to have a war over a contract.
“That said, Suzuki will have to pay some kind of compensation and I think they should pay a massive penalty. I think Dorna should enforce that, hard.
“Because you don’t yank the carpet out having just signed a five-year deal with Dorna. Does the left hand at Suzuki not know what the right hand is doing?
“There is a parallel in all of this. We’ve had Brexit, the UK leaving the European Union. And now we’ve got ‘Sexit’, Suzuki leaving MotoGP!
“They will have to make it tough on Suzuki or everyone will want to leave at some stage, or rearrange their contracts. So Sexit it is.”
Huewen, Crash.net MotoGP editor Pete McLaren and podcast host Harry Benjamin also discuss what the news means for Suzuki’s current riders Joan Mir and Alex Rins, before attention turns to a review of the Jerez test itself and this weekend’s upcoming French MotoGP.
One of Keith’s colourful Le Mans anecdotes ends with the revelation “I’ve never seen so many willies hanging over the walkway as they wee’d on his car…!”
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