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Suzuki pulls out of MotoGP

2011-11-18 13:51

THE LAST SUZUKI: Alvaro Bautista in action at the 2011 Spanish MotoGP. He is now going to Honda.

TOKYO, Japan - Suzuki has withdrawn from motorcycling's premier MotoGP championship until at least 2014 to reduce costs amid the global economic downturn. It also wasn't winning...

A company media statement said: "This suspension is to cope with tough circumstances mainly caused by the prolonged recession in developed countries, a historical appreciation of the 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's future in MotoGP had been in doubt for months with the reduction to a single works bike in 2011 widely regarded leading to full withdrawal. The brand last won a MotoGP in 2007 - Chris Vermeulen, France - while American Kenny Roberts jnr was the team's most recent World champion way back in 2000.

The brand first joined the grid in the top division of motorcycling in 1974, a decade in which Britain's Barry Sheene won two World titles.

Current rider Alvaro Bautista will join the Honda Gresini team in 2012 in place of the late Marco Simoncelli.

Suzuki's withdrawal leaves only Honda, Yamaha and Ducati as manufacturers with full factory teams on the grid for 2012. Kawasaki withdrew in 2009.

Carmelo Ezpeleta, CEO of series promoters Dorna, warned this week that MotoGP was not sustainable at its current cost; there were only 17 bikes on the grid during the 2011 season.

"If we carry on this way, with the teams lacking the budget to have the bike leased, in 2013 we'll only have two Hondas on the grid," said Ezpeleta. "The constructors... an't change reality. This is reality: there's no more money, we need to spend less. We can't keep on watching any more, we must act now."

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