Suzuki factory test rider and former MotoGP
racer Nobuatsu Aoki made a brief visit to the Sepang media centre on Thursday morning.
Last November Suzuki announced a temporary suspension of its participation in MotoGP, due to the financial crisis, with the intention of returning in 2014.Crash.net
spoke to Aoki to get an update on Suzuki's grand prix plans.
“The Suzuki 1000cc project is still under development. We are just lacking some budget to race,” said Aoki.
When was the last time you rode the 1000?
“Last week. The bike is completely new, relative to the 800c so there are many small things to fix. But we have time.
“The plan is still for Suzuki to return to MotoGP
Suzuki's withdraw means that Honda, Yamaha and Ducati are the only remaining manufacturers for the first year of 1000cc racing, although a new class of privateer Claiming Rule Teams are set to boost grid numbers from 17 to 21.
Aoki was a full time premier-class rider from 1997-2004 with Honda, Suzuki and then Proton KR. He claimed four podiums.
In attention to his Suzuki development duties, the 40-year-old now helps a range of up-and-coming riders, aged between 5 and 14. Aoki was showing one of these young racers around the media room.