Dorna boss Ezpeleta critical of Suzuki over sudden MotoGP exit call

Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta expresses his displeasure with Suzuki over its unexpected decision to quit MotoGP in the first year of a new five season deal

Alex Rins - Suzuki Ecstar


Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta says he is ‘not happy’ with Suzuki following its shock decision to abruptly call an end to its participation in the MotoGP World Championship at the conclusion of the 2022 season.

News of the Japanese manufacturer’s impending departure broke in the wake of the Spanish MotoGP in Jerez, with unawares team members - including boss Livio Suppo, plus riders Alex Rins and Joan Mir -  being informed during Monday’s test.

Suzuki eventually broke its silence on 12 May [Thursday] to confirm its intention to leave, even if it stopped short of formally confirming it amid ongoing discussions with Dorna over the manner of its exit.

Indeed, Suzuki’s decision comes just months after it penned a new five-year deal that ties to competing in MotoGP until the end of 2026, with any premature breaking of its contract destined to trigger a hefty fine or even a ban from ever returning to the premier class.

Making his first public comment on the revelations in a video posted to the official MotoGP website, Ezpeleta says that while he is understanding of Suzuki’s motives - which it intimated has been motivated by economic pressures and a commitment towards investing in greener technology - he is unhappy at it dropping such a bombshell.

“We were surprised by the news we received after Jerez regarding the communication we had with the team. I have been advised by the managing director of the team, Livio Suppo, of the decision of Suzuki to not continue after this season. 

“We say we understand the situation but we need to talk to know exactly the full situation because we have an agreement with Suzuki that was signed last year, so we need to understand exactly their problems so next week we will have a meeting with a Suzuki representative. 

“For me it is important to say we are not happy with Suzuki leaving but it is important to say that championship is in good health.”

Portuguese MotoGP, Portimao, start, 2023 MotoGP

Ezpeleta satisfied with 22 riders for 2023 MotoGP

With attention quickly shifting towards whether Suzuki’s place on the grid will be assumed by another team, Ezpeleta says he has had interest from both manufacturers and privateer efforts for 2023.

Despite his comments, it is unclear which - if any - manufacturers could be in line to replace Suzuki, but Leopard Racing has emerged as a potential entry candidate to take on a new satellite Aprilia effort.

However, he hints that he’d be otherwise satisfied to revert to a similar line-up as 2021 with 11 teams and 22 bikes for the time being.

“When the news went public, we received a lot of demands from manufacturers and individual teams and we need to decide whether to have a championship with five manufacturers and six private teams, like we had last year. 

“The number is OK, 22 riders is important, so it depends on the proposal if we decide to replace Suzuki or we will continue without it.”