FIM President tips Suzuki MotoGP return

FIM President Jorge Viegas expects a Suzuki MotoGP return at some point. Picture: Estrella Galicia 0,0

FIM President Jorge Viegas expects a Suzuki MotoGP return at some point. Picture: Estrella Galicia 0,0

FIM President Jorge Viegas expects Suzuki to return to MotoGP, although he is not sure when.

The Hamamatsu factory was flying high in the early rounds of the 2022 season, with its factory squad leading the teams’ championship at the conclusion of the Spanish Grand Prix.

However, a day later, at the Jerez post-race test, the Team Suzuki Ecstar crew was delivered the shock news that the programme would be shuttered at season’s end.

After a settlement to break its participation agreement just one year into a five-year deal was apparently agreed, last year’s Valencia Grand Prix, which it won courtesy of Alex Rins, was indeed its final round for the foreseeable future.

However, Viegas has tipped that Suzuki will be back, in comments at this weekend’s Dutch Round of the Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK).

“It’s tough because Suzuki left us,” he said of the marque which fielded Joan Mir to the riders’ championship title in 2020.

“I had the occasion to speak to Mr Suzuki himself in Japan, and they said they were going to invest all the money they had in a new type of engine, blah, blah, blah.

“I think they will be back. They cannot sell bikes if they are not in competition.

“We had two very tough years with the COVID, but I think things are getting much better now and I think that new manufacturers will join in both competitions – in MotoGP and Superbikes, which is not easy because the investment in MotoGP mainly is huge.

“But in Superbikes you need to have a very good investment to be competitive.

“But you see now in the Endurance [World Championship], Ducati is joining, which was not the case before. And they have the help of the factory.

“So, I am optimistic but what we have to do to bring them is to have the regulations made according to the manufacturers – not against them, otherwise they will not come.

“So, all of this is an interactive system that we are doing all the time with the promoter, with the MSMA, and within the FIM we discuss a lot. So, that’s the only way: to discuss and decide.”

There is less optimism about Kawasaki and BMW, though.

Both are in WorldSBK, where the former is one of the top manufacturers having won the championship six years in a row from 2015 to 2020, while the latter has involvement with MotoGP as its Safety Car supplier.

“In MotoGP, we are missing Kawasaki and BMW,” declared Viegas.

“But they don’t want to come, and there’s no room for the time being.

“Maybe Suzuki will come back, we’ll see.”

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