Suter is to withdraw from the 2018 Moto2 world championship. The Swiss chassis manufacturer was only able to attract a single team for the 2018 season, and have decided that it makes no commercial sense to continue their participation. The Dynavolt Intact Team, who will field riders Xavi Vierge and Marcel Schrotter for 2018, will make the switch to Kalex instead.
Though the decision still comes as something of a surprise, it is entirely understandable. After early success when the Moto2 class was introduced - including winning the first ever Moto2 race at Qatar with the sorely missed Shoya Tomizawa - and then the dominance of Marc Marquez with the Monlau team, Suter struggled to be competitive against an ever improving Kalex machine. Once Marquez moved up to MotoGP in 2013, riders on the Swiss chassis booked fewer and fewer victories, while Kalex took over the class. For context, in the two seasons Marquez raced on a Suter, booked half of the Swiss manufacturer's total victories between 2010 and 2017.
With Kalex cleaning up in Moto2 - riders on a Kalex have won the title every year since 2013 - Suter found it hard to find customers. They had only two bikes in 2015, and were completely absent in 2016 after the JP Malaysia team of Efren Vazquez pulled out after the second race of the season.
Suter had better luck in 2017, persuading the Kiefer Racing and Dynavolt Intact teams to use their bikes. Dominique Aegerter had a very convincing season on the Suter, which would have included a podium had he not been disqualified for an irregularity with engine oil at Misano. But it was not enough to persuade more teams to make the jump to the chassis for the 2018.
Suter's withdrawal highlights the fundamental weakness of the Moto2 class. Teams and riders in the Grand Prix paddock are deeply conservative, and will always try to use whatever the most successful riders in the class are using at the time. But Moto2 is a series where riders and top teams can make a big difference. For Moto2 chassis manufacturers, this means that if they cannot persuade a dominant rider in a top team to use their chassis, their chances of success are already limited.
Suter has now suffered the same fate as FTR did earlier, which was forced out after everyone switched to Suter. With KTM having entered the series - and having proved to be competitive, winning the last three races of the season with Miguel Oliveira and racking up nine podiums in total - the pattern could repeat itself, if everyone chooses to race a KTM rather than a Kalex.
Suter's withdrawal from Moto2 still leaves five chassis manufacturers in the class: KTM, Kalex, NTS, Tech 3, and Speed Up.
Below is the press release from Suter announcing their withdrawal:
SUTER INDUSTRIES WITHDRAWS FROM MOTO2 WC
Suter Industries AG, a high-tech engineering company based in Turbenthal, Switzerland, withdraws with immediate effect from the Moto2 motorcycle world championship. Since the Kiefer Racing team has chosen not to compete with Suter motorcycles for the season 2018, only the two machines for the Dynavolt Intact Racing team would have been delivered. “From a strategical point of view, this does not justify any further our participation in the Moto2 WC”, explains owner and founder of Suter Industries, Eskil Suter.
FUTURE FOCUS ON OTHER MOTORCYCLE PROJECTS
Nevertheless, Suter Industries will continue to operate in the world of racing. The team of 40 proven specialists will increasingly focus on the development of its own motorcycles, as for example the two-stroke racing motorcycle Suter 500, and other high-quality motorcycle products for its customers. Suter also intends to further intensify the successful cooperation with the American motorcycle manufacturer Arch Motorcycle.
Suter Industries would like to thank the Dynavolt Intact team for the close and professional cooperation during the last season and wishes all the best for the upcoming racing season.