Suzuki will reduce its MotoGP
involvement to a single rider in 2011, the Japanese factory has officially announced.
The long-rumoured cut-back means that Alvaro Bautista will be the only GSV-R rider next season. Present team-mate Loris Capirossi
has already signed for Pramac Ducati.
Suzuki's scale-back follows in the footsteps of Kawasaki, which replaced its two-rider factory team with an unofficial single rider project for 2009, before withdrawing from MotoGP
altogether at the end of the year.
Suzuki last won the premier-class world championship in 2000, but has won just one race since the start of the four-stroke era, in 2002. The team's most recent podium finish was in 2008.
MotoGP rights holder's Dorna Sports are said to feel that Suzuki is contractually obliged to field two bikes until the end of the current MSMA contract, which expires at the end of next season.
But having allowed Kawasaki to cut back to one bike, Suzuki will have a strong case for doing likewise. Suzuki has also reduced its involvement in the World Superbike Championship, due to the tough economic environment.
Full time MotoGP
grid numbers should remain at 17 next season, with the lost Suzuki replaced by a new sixth Ducati for Czech rider Karel Abraham.
It is not known if title sponsor Rizla will stay on board for 2011.