Around the time that Kawasaki pulled out of MotoGP, rumors persisted that Suzuki, too, was on the verge of pulling out. A number of sources inside Japan spoke of Suzuki withdrawing, as we reported earlier, but the Suzuki MotoGP team consistently denied the rumors, dismissing them as just talk.
But they were more than that, as an interview which GPOne.com is carrying with Shinichi Sahara, head of Suzuki's MotoGP team, makes clear. Sahara told GPOne.com "At around the same time that Kawasaki officially announced its withdrawal, Suzuki were also considering it as well. Why did we choose to stay? Because Hamamatsu is convinced that competition is in our DNA, and is important for our image. In the end, the final word was for our President, Osamu Suzuki."
Sahara said that contracts with Dorna played no part in the decision: "There were no contractual problems with Dorna," he told GPOne.com.
But costs continue to be an important factor in Suzuki's MotoGP program. And costs mean that Suzuki is unlikely to be fielding extra bikes in the short term. "I can't see more than two Suzukis on the grid in the future. But the long term could be different, of course."
As for the cost-cutting measures put forward by the MSMA, Suzuki does not believe that all of the proposals have merit. Testing, especially, is a problem. "Think of the Monday tests after a Grand Prix, for example. These are the cheapest solution for development, but the proposals want to remove them. We'll adapt, if necessary, but having only two bikes on the grid means that we will suffer more than the others."
And there was bad news for Vito Ippolito's proposals for production racing motorcycles, as in the 80s and 90s, when the grid was filled with RG500s and YZ500s. Asked about the period, when bikes were sold, rather than leased, Sahara was forthright: "Unfortunately, that was in the past. It's impossible to consider selling the current MotoGP bikes."