MotoGP’s top racers respond to Suzuki’s withdrawal

Several MotoGP racers have spoken out on Suzuki’s surprise plan to retire at the end of 2022, with Yamaha’s Franco Morbidelli describing it as “an ugly episode” for the sport.


Suzuki announced on Thursday, before the French Grand Prix, that it was in talks with Dorna Sports to end its MotoGP deal from following year, as first reported the Japanese marque’s plan the week before.

When Alex Rins first heard the announcement, he was “totally bawling,” while Joan Mir was “mad” with Suzuki’s choice.

Suzuki’s decision to retire was “not good for the sport,” according to Yamaha racer Morbidelli, who came second to Mir in the 2020 championship battle.

“Personally, I think this news is not good for the sport, it’s not a positive thing that something like this happens,” Morbidelli said at Le Mans on Thursday. 

“Above all, it is very ugly to see how so many professionals are going to be out of a job from one day to the next.  

“Suzuki is a very good team, very strong, and to say that it will not continue despite having a contract is incomprehensible. A very bad situation, an ugly episode.”  

Maverick Vinales of Aprilia, who debuted with Suzuki in 2015 and earned his first race with the manufacturer in 2016, mirrored Morbidelli’s remarks.

“It’s sad news, honestly, because I know most of the people who work there,” Vinales added. “They are fantastic, honestly speaking, and they are like a family.

“And they proved they are a great team. So, for me it’s sad that it happened so quick.

“I don’t know the reason, I don’t think we will know the reason.

“But I’m sad for the people working there, because it’s people that have been working in this world for many, many years and for a long time.

“So, I really wish they can work and they can find a new structure or whatever, because I think they are good people.”

Suzuki’s decision to retire immediately, when it had “its best bike ever,” was “abnormal,” according to Ducati’s Jack Miller, who was also worried about the future of the race squad’s employees.

“More shock than anything,” Miller said of Suzuki’s decision. 

“It’s unfortunate, or strange, that a manufacturer like that was world champion two years ago and looks like they’ve brought their best bike yet – myself and Suzuki came into the championship at the same time [in 2015] – that to see them leaving now is sad.  

“For the riders it sucks for them, it’s shitty.  

“But they’re really good riders, they’ll find a job. But there’s 45, 50 staff members that now have to go and find a job to feed their families.  

“So, that’s a shitty deal as well. So, the championship, we rely on having manufacturers in there.  

“And having manufacturers in there, the big three – Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki – has been unreal.  

“And to see that go is sad because I like variety, I like seeing different bikes being apart of it. For sure it’s a shit deal.” 

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