It is still one big mystery whether or not we will see the blue Suzuki bikes on the MotoGP grid next season and depending on which observer in or outside the paddock you ask, everyone will tell you something different.
And apparently, asking someone in the know doesn’t yield much varying results either.
Spanish magazine Motociclismo spoke to Suzuki’s project manager Shinichi Sahara in Brno and he confirmed that the Hamamatsu company is indeed testing a new 1000cc bike with a V4 engine in Japan at the moment. Regular test rider Nobuatsu Aoki is doing the inital development work. But they did not bring that bike on track for the post-race test at Brno, as Sahara said “because we still have to do many fundamental tests”. The state of evolution of this bike is what fuels rumours that Suzuki might start next season with an 800cc bike and then only move on to the 1000cc later in the year, something that was also mentioned by Alvaro in his latest interview with Gavin Emmett for After the Flag.
Regardless of the ongoing development however, the question if Suzuki will stay at all can still not be answered for sure, but the existing team would certainly like to continue – again with two riders.
“At this moment nothing is certain”, Sahara said. “We would like to continue with two riders, like we did this weekend, but it is almost sure that we will continue.”
Who those two riders are supposed to be is also a hotly discussed topic, with Alvaro and temporary teammate John Hopkins being the main choices for the seats. Alvaro has previously expressed his wish to continue with a factory bike, but as previously discussed also has other offers to stay in the class and now is waiting for Suzuki’s response about their future involvment in the series.
But Shinichi Sahara made it clear that Suzuki would just be as interested to keep Alvaro in the family. “I like Alvaro, he is a great racer and also very good at developing the bike. I don’t want anyone to steal him away from us. We want to continue with him and I hope to receive the green light at the end of September, but maybe it’s too late …”
After the Flag, Brno
Motociclismo, Issue 2269 (August 16th)