If you follow motorsport, you’re already aware Suzuki have announced they will be ending their involvement with MotoGP at the end of 2022.
To clarify rumours, Suzuki have released a statement, which we have summarised below plus our own thoughts to help understand Suzuki’s future and the overall motorcycle industry at present.
Is Suzuki leaving MotoGP?
Yes, once negotiations with series organiser DORNA are finalised. The aim is no further MotoGP racing following the end of this 2022 season.
Who is DORNA?
Per Wikipedia: Dorna Sports, S.L. is the commercial rights holder for the motorcycling sport of Grand Prix racing. Since 1992 Dorna has been the exclusive holder of all commercial and television rights relating to the World Championship series and since 2013 the Superbike World Championship. The company also participates in the management and marketing of other motorsports properties.
Why would Suzuki leave motorsport?
The decision is based around the changed market environment. Suzuki are reallocating their resources to ensure the health of their overall business. Suzuki’s current focus is on sustainability, carbon neutrality, and alternative fuel technology and racing is not part of those priorities.
So racing is bad for the environment?
Some believe so, however Suzuki’s decision per the above priorities would have taken their impact to global pollution in to consideration. Think of emissions from shipping race teams, the bikes running, then the cost of running the team like rider and team salary, fuel and freight costs (especially at present post COVID), marketing costs, fees and the return for sales on all that investment. Away from MotoGP, there are other brands that are taking leaving racing seriously.
Does this exit decision reflect Suzuki’s future investment in Australia and our overseas neighbours?
Suzuki state their future in Oceania (aka Australia/NZ etc) is solid and attribute to current business health with the success of Hayabusa Gen III, updated GSX-S1000 and new GSX-S1000GT that’s impossible to buy due to immense demand.
But Suzuki’s range has dramatically reduced in the last 10 years?
It’s no secret that their line up is a fraction of not too long ago. Although Suzuki will be here and investing in road bike futures, it may not include what you’re used to seeing in showrooms not so long ago.
Be mindful – those bikes you know well don’t necessarily sell in today’s environment, even if they were updated. Price rises to combat pressure on manufacturing costs and massive shipping cost increases have stalled some well selling models, this isn’t just for Suzuki.
Just because bikes get likes on social media or are talked about on Sunday rides doesn’t mean they sell. To ensure a model’s success, strong buyer demand by actual confirmed orders need to happen and this in real life has taken a dramatical shift these last 10+ years.
We see it as Suzuki minimalising – only producing what sells quickly, with little costs to market it, and near zero storage costs or needing to throw rebated money to help move aged stock. They are a business first and foremost. That reduced price GSX-R600 you saw for $12990 ride away probably cost Suzuki money when all said-and-done, with us making near zero profit to clear it out. As the boss once said; you can break even by not even opening.
But the Suzuki sales numbers don’t reflect a strong investment?
Global pre-ordered (confirmed customer purchases) demand for new models is well outweighing supply, due to many factors constraining production like freighting, raw materials, semiconductors and the like. In the meantime, first preference is given to those who officially order and wait. One day, we hope the market will return to normal, where if you want a new bike, we’ll have the colour you want in stock ready to purchase with a demo to sample first.
Does their exit from racing impact showroom sales?
No, it’s rare now that we meet a customer who purchases a Suzuki based on their racing success. We wish; GSX-R1000 sales would be through the roof based on the success of the MotoGP team!
Will Suzuki no longer make GSX-R’s?
We don’t know for sure on this one, no statement from Suzuki about this model is said. Regardless of MotoGP, if GSX-R1000 was no longer in production, it would be a business decision. We wouldn’t be surprised however, as more people talk of GSX-R than actually buy. Supersport sales for Suzuki are a fraction of what they were 10 years ago, as buyer’s tastes and priorities have changed.
Why don’t people buy supersport?
This can be attributed to road enforcement, rider comfort, development of technology and engineering in other variants like street bikes and adventure, rider preference for motorcycle use (touring, two-up), insurance premiums especially for younger riders, consumer spending decisions and cost of purchase today.
It can be likened to a sports car – we all have a favourite, but in practical terms, we buy something else instead that’s more suitable to real life.
Will Suzuki return to MotoGP like they did once before?
No, according to Suzuki. This decision is for the foreseeable future.
Are there new models coming from Suzuki then?
Suzuki have said they are developing new models that will be sold here. A couple new models over the next few years are expected. We expect that our showroom when stock is available will be primarily newly released street bikes, with a focus on technology and remain extremely well built with high quality and durability that Suzuki is well known for.
When will it be official that Suzuki is out of racing?
We expect this will come once negotiations on the exit are finalised, maybe near season closure.