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MotoGP tells Suzuki they have to stay and race

MotoGP’s promoters Dorna on Tuesday responded to reports that Suzuki were thinking of quitting by telling the manufacturers they had to stick to their contract.

“Dorna Sports has officially contacted the factory in order to remind them that the conditions of their contract to race in MotoGP do not allow for them to take this decision unilaterally,” said the statement.

The warning followed a report on specialist site Motorsports.com that “the heads of Suzuki gathered all members of the MotoGP team on Monday and communicated its decision to quit the series at the end of the year.”

Suzuki had already left MotoGP at the end of 2011, before returning in 2015. 

Dorna did not rule out the possibility that the Japanese team would quit again.

“Should Suzuki depart following an agreement between both parties, Dorna will decide on the ideal number of riders and teams racing in the MotoGP class from 2023,” read a statement.

Dorna said it “continues to receive high levels of interest from a number of both official factories and Independent Teams looking to join the MotoGP grid.”

“Interest from these parties has been re-confirmed in the past 24 hours,” it added.

In the 500cc era, Barry Sheene, Marco Lucchinelli, Franco Uncini, Kevin Schwantz and Kenny Roberts Jr. won world titles riding Suzukis.

Since the company returned in 2015, they have won one rider title in 2020 when Joan Mir topped the standings with team-mate Alex Rins was third.

Rins is fourth in this season’s standings with Mir Sixth.

Motorsports said Mir was likely to join Honda replacing Pol Espargaro.

While they won the team championship in 2020, Suzuki struggle in the separate manufacturers’ standings because, unlike, Ducati, Yamaha, Honda and KTM, they do not have a satellite team. 

In the current format, there are 24 bikes on the starting grid in each race, although wildcard entries increased that to 25 in the last two races. 

Ducati have eight bikes on the grid this season. Suzuki and Aprilia are the only manufacturers with just two bikes on the starting grid.

The 24-bike format is fixed until 2026, when the current contract between the International Motorcycling Federation, Dorna and the International Racing Team Association, which represents the six manufacturers ends.

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