Uncertainty surrounds the much-hyped return of Suzuki to MotoGP, a project that appears to be now delayed to 2015.
Just last week it became known that Suzuki top management in Japan were still to sign-off on final approval and budget for next year.
If the delayed return is confirmed for 2015 it will ease the strain on Suzuki of trying to get a full race team, riders, sponsors and budget in place for next season.
An official announcement outlining Suzuki's intentions is expected to be made on Monday (17 June) just prior to the commencement of MotoGP test day at the Catalunya Circuit.
The test will be the first European appearance of Suzuki's new inline four 1000cc racer being developed for the MotoGP project. It will be ridden by Frenchman Randy de Puniet.
Another factor is that Suzuki would have more time to prepare their bike as a competitive package having been absent since their sudden withdrawal from MotoGP at the end of 2011.
Over the past two seasons Honda and Yamaha have taken crucial electronic and engine development to levels that are neither quick, nor inexpensive, to replicate.
The Suzuki decision will likely impact the aspirations of free agent riders who were anticipating that Suzuki could be an option for 2014. Rumors had linked Cal Crutchlow, Nicky Hayden, Aleix Espargaro, and Scott Redding as riders of interest for the Suzuki team.
The test days in Barcelona and Aragon this week will give Suzuki technicians an early benchmark as to the performance of their new bike which will run against factory teams from Honda, Yamaha and Ducati.
The expected announcement is now here:
Team Suzuki Press Office - June 17.
Suzuki Motor Corporation will return to FIM Road Racing Grand Prix MotoGP in 2015.
After two years suspension since 2012, Suzuki Motor Corporation has organized its test team to undergo more practical running tests at its advanced development stage and will participate in the official joint testing to be held at the Catalunya circuit in Spain. Through continuing running tests at the circuits inside and outside Japan for further development and refinement, Suzuki Motor Corporation will participate again in MotoGP racing from 2015.
Suzuki Motor Corporation will feed back advanced technology to be derived through MotoGP racing activity to develop further attractive production models.
The outline of testing team and racing machine to be developed are as follows:
Chief members of Europe testing team in 2013:
- Team manager: Davide Brivio
- Development rider: Randy De Puniet
MotoGP machine to be developed:
- 1000cc In-line four GP racer