Chris Vermeulen, the only rider to win a MotoGP race with the GSV-R, will leave Suzuki at the end of the 2009 season.
The Australian, a former World Supersport champion and ten time World Superbike race winner for Honda, made his MotoGP debut with two stand-in rides for Camel Honda in 2005.
Vermeulen then secured a full time grand prix seat with Suzuki for 2006, where he has remained ever since.
The 27-year-old took two poles and one podium during the final year of 990cc racing, then made Suzuki history in round five of the first 800cc season, by winning in the wet at Le Mans. The win was Suzuki's first since Sete Gibernau's victory on a 500cc two-stroke at Valencia 2001.
Three further podiums followed for a best yet sixth in the championship, but Suzuki's results have dropped away again since. Vermeulen took two podiums on his way to eighth in the 2008 championship, compared with one podium and tenth for team-mate Loris Capirossi, and no Suzuki rider has yet finished on the 2009 podium.
After last weekend's Czech Republic Grand Prix at Brno it was announced that 250cc title contender Alvaro Bautista had signed a two-year deal with Suzuki. Capirossi has hinted that he is very close to agreeing a new contract for 2010 and Vermeulen's departure was therefore widely predicted.
“Chris has definitely left Suzuki MotoGP,” Vermeulen's manager Phil Baker told Crash.net
. “It was felt that a change was needed as he wants to be running at the front for victories and feels that a change was his best chance of doing so - be that in MotoGP or WSB.”
Baker also manages 2006 MotoGP world champion Nicky Hayden, whose future with Ducati is still to be decided.
“Nicky has his hands full for next weekend and is focusing purely on the big race in Indy. We'll wait and see how things go there,” said Baker.