After yesterday’s announcement that rider Leon Haslam would be released from his contract at Alstare Suzuki because of a lack of factory support, the Alstare Suzuki team announced today that it would be fielding only one rider in World Superbike next year. Alstare will continue to work with Suzuki, but it’s unclear exactly how much support the Japanese factory will be giving the team.
With Haslam’s departure, it can be deduced that Suzuki’s involvement won’t be on par with the rest of the factory teams, but remains none-the-less. Although no rider has been named for the 2011 WSBK season, Alstare says we can expect an announcement in that regard during World Superbike’s last stop at Magny-Cours this weekend.
“As already stated to the media last weekend in Imola, Team Alstare is happy to officially announce that, despite economic difficulties, they and Suzuki have decided to continue their co-operation and their work together,” the Italian team simply stated.
“In order to lower costs for both partners, Team Suzuki Alstare will participate in the 2011 Superbike World Championship with one bike.”
This news is no shock for Suzuki fans, who have seen the factory scale back its involvement in both WSBK and MotoGP. While Suzuki’s MotoGP team continues to struggle for traction in the series, Alstare Suzuki was a World Superbike Championship contender for much of the season. Many WSBK fans were heartbroken to see the Japanese factory fail to support Alstare and Haslam when the pair were leading the series, and battling with Aprilia and Biaggi for the lead.
With MotoGP stopping at Motegi next weekend as well, we can expect to hear an announcement from the Rizla Suzuki team on its future in the series. With speculation stating that Suzuki could drop to a one-bike format in that series as well, Carmelo Ezpeleta has reportedly flown to the factory ahead of the MotoGP camp, to ensure that Suzuki honors its two-bike contract with Dorna. Unlike the Kawasaki withdrawl in 2009, Suzuki can expect hefty fines from Dorna if it breaks its contract. More news as we get it.
Source/Photo: Alstare Suzuki