Five days after they announced they would be pulling out of Moto2 for the 2018 season, Forward Racing are dragging them back in.
Today, the Forward Racing team officially announced that they have signed a deal to race Suter chassis for 2018. Forward will be fielding Eric Granado and Stefano Manzi for the coming season.
The deal came about after Forward tested both Suter and Kalex chassis at the Jerez Moto2 test a couple of weeks ago. Granado and Manzi were fast on the Suter, and after supply problems with Kalex and KTM, the decision was made to proceed with Suter.
This took some persuading though, as Suter had to be convinced to change their mind. But after discussions between the company founder Eskil Suter and CEO Maurizio Bäumle, Suter decided to step back into the series.
Suter’s decision to return to Moto2 five days after leaving was explained by Eskil Suter in an interview with the German-language website Speedweek.
The decision had been poorly handled, Suter acknowledged, but he saw possibilities for 2019 and beyond, when Triumph is due to take over supply of the Moto2 engines.
Suter’s plan is to use Granado and Manzi – both young, but both with some experience of Moto2 already (a year with Sky VR46 for Manzi, and racing both in the World Championship and in the FIM CEV for Granado) to help develop the chassis for the Triumph engine.
Forward may not be the only team Suter ends up supplying. There is also a chance that Kiefer Racing, due to continue next year, but in talks with a Russian backer over finance, could continue with Suter in 2018.
Kiefer, with Domi Aegerter and Sandro Cortese, are in discussions with KTM for a chassis for 2018, but they could still return. This would be good news for Suter, as Aegerter proved himself to be competitive on the bike in 2017.
Dynavolt Intact, which was originally scheduled to be running Suter chassis in 2018, will be sticking with Kalex instead.
The deal is also crucial for the survival of Forward Racing in the class. The supply issues with Kalex were a result of the reputation Forward owner Giovanni Cuzari has gained for bills going unpaid.
The appointment of team manager Milena Koerner has helped turn that situation around, with bills being paid off, but it takes a long time to restore trust once it has been lost.
Forward is not the only team to have a reputation for not paying on time: late or non-payment of bills is commonplace, especially among Moto2 and Moto3 teams, which tend to be run on a much less solid financial basis.
Source: Forward Racing
This article was originally published on MotoMatters, and is republished here on Asphalt & Rubber with permission by the author.