The MotoAmerica grid continues to dwindle in the superbike class, as rumors of Yoshimura Suzuki’s departure were finally made true this week.
The news is shocking in meaning, but perhaps not shocking in surprise, as there have been murmurs of the factory-backed squad leaving the series for a better part of this year (the most notable coming from Ben Spies).
Now out in the open, the move sees Team Hammer taking over as the official team for Suzuki (now called Team Hammer Suzuki), which helps the Japanese brand save some face in terms of keeping its support in the America series, but the reality is that the MotoAmerica Superbike grid will have one less high-level team on the starting line next year.
This news with Suzuki doesn’t occur in a bubble either, as we have seen Yamaha Motor USA revaluate its setup in the MotoAmerica paddock recently, leaving behind its long partnership with Graves Motorsports, and now working with Attack Racing.
The driving force is of course money, but the issue is two-pronged. First, the MotoAmerica series continues to be a difficult sell for motorcycle manufacturers, as the series has limited reach and is still struggling to finding its feet after its departure from DMG’s control.
Second, motorcycle manufacturers are facing another tough year of sales, especially with street bikes – with Suzuki and Yamaha seeing roughly 10% of their unit volume disappearing in 2019.
This means tough choices for the brands and their partners, which is surely where Suzuki and Yoshimura found themselves when evaluating their options for the 2020 season.
According to their press release, Yoshimura R&D will continue to work with Suzuki in other capacities, and Yoshimura “will remain an important partner for marketing and R&D efforts for Suzuki but with a different focus.”
Source: Suzuki Motor of America