Suzuki withdraws from MotoGP
Suzuki has confirmed that it is pulling out of MotoGP but insists its absence will be temporary and that a 2014 return is on the cards.
The future of Suzuki's MotoGP programme had been in doubt for months, with the reduction to a single works bike this season widely regarded as a precursor to a full withdrawal.
It did not join fellow works teams Honda, Ducati and Yamaha in publically testing a 1000cc bike for the 2012 rules, although there were suggestions that such a bike was under development and that the factory team would start the season with its old 800cc machine before switching to the new bike later in the year.
But today the company issued a statement blaming global economic circumstances for the decision to suspend its MotoGP programme for at least two seasons.
"Suzuki Motor Corporation has decided to suspend temporarily its participation in FIM Road Racing Grand Prix MotoGP from 2012," said the statement.
"This suspension is to cope with tough circumstances mainly caused by the prolonged recession in developed countries, a historical appreciation of Japanese Yen and repeated natural disasters.
"Having an eye to returning to MotoGP in 2014, Suzuki will now focus on developing a competitive new racing machine for that class.
"Suzuki will continue motocross racing activity and support of road racing activities using mass-produced motorcycles, by obtaining FIM homologation and co-operation with the supplier of its development racing kit parts."
Suzuki's 2011 rider Alvaro Bautista has already signed for Gresini Honda for next year. The team had tested ex-Pramac Ducati rider Randy de Puniet at Valencia last week.
The most recent Suzuki win in MotoGP was Chris Vermeulen's triumph in the wet 2007 French Grand Prix, with Kenny Roberts Jr the last man to achieve championship success on a Suzuki in 2000.