“Removal from MotoGP??,” you ask.
Yup, 100%; and the brand’s struggle in motorcycle sales may have them pulling back even more before the year is out.
Being the smallest and most conservative racing team, Suzuki just hasn’t had the pile of funds (nor the resources) to pull together more than one team for the circuit.
Now, a report from SuperBike Planet tells us that the removal is largely due to the manufacturer’s financial state, cut by a fall in bike sales that’s been going on for quite some time.
“…they just can’t afford to go racing,” shrugs the report.
“Since the global recession hit, and sales went in the tank, Suzuki has struggled to pay for anything which does not result in motorcycle sales.”
“Suzuki’s precarious financial situation has hit every single department at the manufacturer over the last five years.”
The situation has gotten so strict that the report even details the story of an Suzuki rider and brand ambassador (they remain unnamed for privacy purposes), who was invited to a PR event in Japan last year ‘on behalf of the manufacturer.’
“He told them that he was more than willing to do the event but wanted to mention that he had not been reimbursed for his expenses from the last two trips he made on behalf of the manufacturer to Japan,” continues the report.
“He added that he wasn’t crazy about sponsoring another trip to Japan if reimbursement was going to be ruled by a sun dial.”
“Suzuki said they would figure it out and would call him back. The last time I spoke with him they had not called him back nor reimbursed him.”
Suzuki’s successes in the past were largely due to the GSX-R, of which nearly every unit was sold until 2008. Since then, sales for the gixxer line have declined bit by bit, exacerbated by other brands’ removal of the GSX-r’s competition (Yammie’s R6, and the Kawi ZX-6R) in the bid to build newer toys with better tech (Yammie’s R7, Aprilia’s Tuono and RS660).
To sum up, money from Suzuki’s bike sales that purportedly fuelled the brand’s racing budget is now crumbs compared to what it was. SuperbikePlanet points out a staggering 15% drop in motorcycle sales for Suzuki’s 2021 fiscal year alone – afurther 10% drop is noted for 2020 before that, with no mention of motorcycles in the ‘Mid-term Management Plan’ for Suzuki’s Annual Report.
Stay tuned for updates; the call-to-end racing for Suzuki (at least for MotoGP) has been labeled as ‘temporary,’ so it is also possible that Suzuki will be using the previous MotoGP budget to do something else – hopefully a big about-face, but we are yet to be privy to that information.
What do you think is in store for Suzuki? Drop a comment letting us know what you think, and as ever – stay safe on the twisties.