Suter will not be competing in the Moto2 championship in 2016. In an official statement on their Facebook page, the Swiss engineering firm announced that it would not be applying for a constructor’s license for Moto2 in 2016.
Instead, Suter will be concentrating its efforts on working with Mahindra on their Moto3 machine, and supplying a range of parts for various teams and factories in the series.
The withdrawal from Moto2 was an inevitable consequence of the steady decline in the number of bikes Suter was producing for the class.
After winning the first three manufacturers’ championships, from 2010 to 2012, teams started switching en masse to Kalex. The rider’s championship with Marc Marquez and manufacturer’s title in 2012 was the high point of their stay in Moto2, but by then, the exodus was already underway.
Despite some solid performances in 2014, in the hands of Tom Luthi, Dominique Aegerter and Johann Zarco, just two Suters lined up on the grid at Qatar in 2015.
For 2016, only two teams had chosen to race a Suter, making a grand total of three bikes. Both teams would be fielding rookies: Ioda Racing had signed Efren Vazquez, and AGP had former Moto3 rider Remy Gardner, in his second year in Grand Prix racing, and newcomer Federico Fuligni.
Without an experienced rider to guide development, and with no top-level rider capable of immediately challenging for podiums and wins, it made no commercial sense for Suter to continue.
The costs involved in developing and racing a Moto2 bike would never be recovered through sales in the Moto2 class and to other championships. How Ioda and AGP will replace the Suters is unknown at present.
The loss of Suter is in part down to performance, but much more a sign of the incredible conservatism that reigns in Grand Prix paddocks. Teams see other teams winning, and try to copy their success by choosing the same equipment.
Riders struggling with results point to more successful riders, and tell their teams, “give me the same bike as him, and I will beat him.”
Using the same chassis, suspension, brakes as other teams eliminates one possible variable from the equation, leaving teams and riders free in their minds to concentrate on getting the best out of the equipment.
This conservatism has led to the Moto2 class becoming a virtually entirely spec-class. In 2010, in the first year of the class after it replaced the 250s, there were fourteen manufacturers who entered and scored points.
The following year, that was down to just seven (or eight, if you count the Pons Kalex as a different bike to the Kalex). By 2013, that number was down to five, and then four the following year.
For 2016, just Kalex, Speed Up and Tech 3 remain, with 26 of the entries being Kalexes. Just how Moto2 is to become a more diverse environment again is a mystery.
Source: Suter Racing
This article was originally published on MotoMatters, and is republished here on Asphalt & Rubber with permission by the author.