What impact could Suzuki leaving MotoGP have on the rider market? | MotoGP

After last weekend’s Spanish MotoGP at Jerez, Monday’s one-day test was dominated by the shocking news that Suzuki may be set to drop out of the premier class, despite signing a deal to stay until in 2026 last season.

And if the Japanese manufacturer remains silent on the subject, it seems increasingly likely that Suzuki will in fact abandon its participation in the world championship, financial questions being the main issue.

It’s a shocker on multiple fronts as the Hamamatsu-based manufacturer won the world championship as recently as 2020, while major sponsors such as Monster Energy joined in the last off-season.

Not to mention that Suzuki has two MotoGP winners and has been one of the most successful teams in recent years.

So what does all of this mean for the 2023 MotoGP rider market?

First of all, if Suzuki confirms its intention to abandon its MotoGP project, then the “rebirth” of the team under a different brand could take place, thus allowing Joan Mir and Alex Rins to remain teammates within said team. .

Aprilia are the only manufacturer alongside Suzuki not to have a satellite team, however, the Noale-based team have shown great interest in doing so in recent seasons, making a takeover possible.

Aprilia for Mir or Rins?

Remaining with Aprilia, the team led by Aleix Espargaro is the first we deem suitable for Mir or Rins if Suzuki’s departure leaves behind the possibility of moving to a satellite team.

Of course, the silly season is just getting started, which means most riders are out of contract as things stand.

But with manufacturers such as KTM and Ducati likely to look in-house even if Mir and Rins become available – it had to happen from a contractual standpoint anyway – that leaves only a few viable options.

Aprilia has undoubtedly become the main contender for the title in 2022, when it is arguably the first time since joining MotoGP that it has had a bike that riders are desperate to get on board.

With Espargaro in contention for the 2022 title and almost guaranteed to stay next year, that leaves Maverick Vinales’ seat optional.

Rins has already been touted as someone of interest for Aprilia, and given his riding style, MotoGP experience and relationship with Espargaro, the three-time premier class race winner is certainly a name to watch. to watch.

Vinales, who is desperate for a big MotoGP result after failing at Jerez, faces growing uncertainty over whether Aprilia will keep him.

Mir could also be of great interest to Aprilia given that he is a rider who has been world champion in Moto3 and MotoGP, but with Rins likely to command less money and Mir potentially having more options elsewhere, we think Rins would be the most favorable option for Aprilia at this point.

Could Mir’s availability change Yamaha and Honda’s plans?

“Many say Mir will go to Honda or Yamaha but the truth is that Joan was ready to sign her renewal with Suzuki. [GPOne.com] “In fact, the negotiation was already at an advanced stage. He wanted to stay there. It has always been his priority. What I can say is that he is in shock at what is happening and that he is worried.”

Those are the words of Paco Sanchez, Mir’s manager, as he spoke on a Twitch broadcast after the Jerez test.

For Mir, a rider who was already on the verge of great interest if he had decided to leave Suzuki on his own terms (which we now know is unlikely), could be in store for significant interest from the two manufacturers mentioned above.

Honda, who are likely to replace Pol Espargaro for next season, could once again form another all-Spanish line-up of Mir and Marc Marquez, one that would arguably be the strongest pair on the grid.

Signing Mir to the factory team would either give them the chance to slide Espargaro to LCR, possibly in favor of Alex Marquez, or for the Japanese company to cut ties with the former KTM rider altogether.

On the other hand, Yamaha could and probably should be the manufacturer most interested in Mir.

Apart from Fabio Quartararo who is considered 99% sure to re-sign with Yamaha, Franco Morbidelli, Andrea Dovizioso and Darryn Binder all fail – it must be said that Binder is a big step up from Moto3 and should get a second season with RNF.

While Morbidelli is one of the very few riders to have a 2023 contract in his pocket, the Italian has been off pace in 2022, and while unlikely, it is not uncommon for a team/rider separates when things aren’t going well – take the example of Johann Zarco at KTM.

Obviously Morbidelli has had success with Yamaha before, but would Mir be interesting enough for Yamaha to rethink their plans.

Another option would be for Mir to join RNF as he would receive machines identical to those of Quartararo and Morbidelli, however, taking that seat will likely be difficult as he would have to fend off Raul Fernandez and WorldSBK champion Toprak Razgatlioglu, who remain of interest. at Yamaha – current rider Dovizioso looks set to retire after this season.

Earnest L. Veasey