Suzuki seems to be edging closer and closer to a single-man team for the next season, despite Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta making the rounds in Japan last week reminding the Japanese manufacturers of their legal obligations. With news that a good portion of the Rizla Suzuki MotoGP crew were told they should start looking for new employment, including long-time Crew Chief Stuart Shenton, Suzuki seems to be culling its ranks for a pull-back in 2011 despite the consequences.
With Dorna already showing that it may be more bark than bite, after letting Kawasaki get away with its 2009 pull-out, the folks at MCN suggest Suzuki may have brokered a deal with Dorna for a larger involvement in 2012, when MotoGP goes back to the 1000cc format, in exchange for an allowance to run a single-bike next year in an effort to cut the company’s racing costs.
Most of the crew that was given notice of possible future unemployment was on Loris Capirossi’s side of the garage, which further suggests the validity to the rumors that only Alvaro Bautista would remain in 2011. Veteran rider Loris Capirossi has been heavily linked to a ride in the Pramac Ducati team. However some of the Bautista camp has been put on notice too, likely in an effort by the team to consolidate positions with its top crew members.
According to MCN, Ezpeleta has made a deal with Suzuki that would see the Japanese firm be allowed to field only one bike next year, if the company returned full-force in 2012 when the 100cc format comes online. Dorna is putting high hopes on the new set of rules, which they hope will bring better racing action back to the series, and wants full factory involvement from all the major MotoGP manufacturers. 2012 is also when MotoGP’s contract with the MSMA concludes, and Dorna is likely keen to put the screws to the manufacturers ahead of this date if it wants to get the concessions it wants.
Source: MCN; Photos: Rizla Suzuki