Suzuki announces closure of racing website after 23 years

Suzuki has announced the closure of its racing website at the end of December, bringing to an end an era that began in 1999.

Alex Rins, 2022 Jerez IRTA MotoGP test. [credit:].

Suzuki has announced that its racing website will close in December, suggesting its latest departure from racing might be quite permanent. 

Suzuki’s racing website has been open since 1999, but will be closed at the end of December as its final calendar year of factory racing comes to a close. 

Suzuki’s withdrawal from MotoGP was announced in May after the Spanish Grand Prix, and was accompanied with an announcement that it would withdraw its factory support from its EWC programme, too. 

These racing departures followed its withdrawal from MXGP in 2018, and its factory motocross effort in the US has disappeared, too, as well as its factory MotoAmerica programme. 

Suzuki’s racing website covered not only MotoGP reports, but also BSB, EWC, and still the AMA motocross and supercross, and MotoAmerica, news and reports. The closure of the site suggests the company has little intention of returning to racing in an official capacity at any point. 

Its aforementioned opening in 1999 means it lasted through Suzuki’s previous MotoGP exit in 2011. That it will not survive this latest racing exodus rather confirms Suzuki’s loss of interest in racing on a corporate level. 

It is undoubtedly a shame - Suzuki’s racing history is undeniable, from their early small capacity Grand Prix machines in the 1960s to the 500s that took the likes of Barry Sheene to world titles, and later Kevin Schwantz and Kenny Roberts Jr. 

In the off-road world, perhaps Suzuki’s most iconic period was that when its motocross machines were raced by Ricky Carmichael in the mid-2000s, when the rider considered the greatest of all time rode his final three seasons with the Hamamatsu brand, winning the premier class supercross and motocross titles in both 2005 and 2006.

One of the few titles Carmichael lost was to Suzuki, when Tim Ferry won the 1997 125SX East class in what was Carmichael’s debut season as a professional.

In Europe, the legend of the Motocross World Championship is of course Stefan Everts, a 10-times champion and 101-time Grand Prix winner. Everts’ riding career is well-associated with Yamaha, and while his current time is spent with KTM (his son, Liam, will also race for the factory KTM team in the MX2 World Championship next season, replacing two-time champion Tom Vialle who moves to America), he also worked with Suzuki in the 2010s.

Everts took over the Suzuki factory MXGP programme not long before they closed. In taking a highly-regarded figure as team manager shortly before pulling the plug on the whole project, this can likened to Suzuki hiring ex-Ducati and HRC team boss Livio Suppo to manage its MotoGP effort. That is what they did for 2022, and six races into the season they threw it away. 

Suzuki’s departure of racing is both sad and frustrating. They won two Grands Prix this year, and had two riders capable of winning world titles (indeed, Joan Mir did in 2020 with Suzuki).

In MXGP, Jeremy Seewer is a consistent top three contender with Yamaha, but he raced for Suzuki before they left. 

On the other side of the Atlantic, Ken Roczen is currently expected to join the HEP Suzuki team for 2023. Roczen is one of the fastest riders in the world and will almost certainly be a contender for race wins indoor and out, and potentially the supercross title, on the RM-Z 450 should he ride it next year. But there will be no support from Japan. 

In World Endurance, Suzuki should have won the last two world titles, and their line-up of Sylvain Guintoli, Gregg Black, and Xavier Simeon was one of the strongest in the field. 

The BSB team will also feel the loss of Suzuki's racing website at the end of December. This year Hawk Racing had a strong National Superstock campaign with Charlie Nesbitt, who won a race and ended the season on the Superbike, and they had Michael Dunlop running their Superstock bike on the roads. 

One of the major credits of the Suzuki MotoGP team was its social media account, which produced content that was fun and light-hearted, and generally matched the atmosphere that radiated from the team. Suzuki were reportedly the only MotoGP team employ a dedicated social media manager.

It has been a curious sight to see the Suzuki MotoGP account pop up in Twitter replies, and a regular reminder of what MotoGP is losing - as well as motorcycle racing in general - but also what Suzuki is losing. 

Those reminders will also cease at the end of December as the social media accounts will close along with the website.

“The site started in 1999,” Suzuki said in a press release, “and has reported Suzuki Racing News event reports, news items and images, covering many of Suzuki's brilliant racing achievements in all categories of motorcycle racing worldwide.

“We take this opportunity to thank you for visiting and supporting the site for so many years.”

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