Suzuki has officially confirmed that it will withdraw from the MotoGP World Championship.
The following statement, titled 'Temporary Suspension Of MotoGP Racing', was released on Friday morning (European time):
"Suzuki Motor Corporation has decided to suspend temporarily its participation in FIM Road Racing Grand Prix MotoGP from 2012.
"This suspension is to cope with tough circumstances mainly caused by the prolonged recession in developed countries, a historical appreciation of Japanese Yen and repeated natural disasters.
"Having an eye to returning to MotoGP in 2014, Suzuki will now focus on developing a competitive new racing machine for that class.
"Suzuki will continue motocross racing activity and support of road racing activities using mass-produced motorcycles, by obtaining FIM homologation and co-operation with the supplier of its development racing kit parts.
"November 18, 2011
Suzuki Motor Corporation."
A multi-title winning brand during the 500cc era, Suzuki continued with a two-rider factory team after the switch to four-strokes (in 2002) but then cut back to just one bike, for Alvaro Bautista, this season.
Bautista, who took three top-six finishes after breaking his femur at round one, has signed for Honda Gresini. Frenchman Randy de Puniet recorded impressive lap times on the 800cc GSV-R at the post-race Valencia test, and had made clear he wanted to race the bike next year.
Rizla Suzuki MotoGP team manager Paul Denning has already announced that his Crescent Racing team will move from BSB to WSBK next season. Some of the MotoGP team could switch to that project, while John Hopkins is now likely to join Leon Camier as the second rider.
Suzuki last won the premier-class title with Kenny Roberts in 2000, but has taken just one win - with Chris Vermeulen at a wet Le Mans in 2007 - during the four-stroke era. The team's most recent podium appearance was at Brno in 2008.
Suzuki's MotoGP exit follows that of Kawasaki (2009) and Aprilia (2004). It leaves Honda, Ducati and Yamaha as the only remaining factory manufacturers and underlines just how vital the new class of privateer 'Claiming Rule Teams' (CRTs) are to the future of the sport.
MotoGP is switching to 1000cc engines for 2012, but Suzuki could have continued with the 800cc bike (allowing a 3kg weight advantage).
Suzuki's 500cc World Champions:
Barry Sheene (1976 and 1977)
Marco Lucchinelli (1981)
Franco Uncini (1982)
Kevin Schwantz (1993)
Kenny Roberts Jr (2000)