Suzuki has officially confirmed that it will return to the MotoGP World Championship, but not until 2015.
A statement released on Monday morning, to coincide with the public debut of the new Suzuki MotoGP machine in testing at Catalunya, reads:
"Suzuki Motor Corporation will return to FIM Road Racing Grand Prix MotoGP in 2015.
"After two years suspension since 2012, Suzuki Motor Corporation has organised its test team to undergo more practical running tests at its advanced development stage and will participate in the official joint testing to be held at the Catalunya circuit in Spain.
"Through continuing running tests at the circuits inside and outside Japan for further development and refinement, Suzuki Motor Corporation will participate again in MotoGP racing from 2015.
"Suzuki Motor Corporation will feed back advanced technology to be derived through MotoGP racing activity to develop further attractive production models.
"The outline of testing team and racing machine to be developed are as follows:
"Chief members of Europe testing team in 2013:
- Team manager: Davide Brivio
- Development rider: Randy De Puniet
"MotoGP machine to be developed:
- 1000cc In-line four GP racer"
A control ECU is being introduced for MotoGP next season, which may be one reason for the 2015 decision. Like all official manufacturer entries, Suzuki can develop its own software for use with the new ECU, in exchange for a four-litre fuel penalty relative to the privateer bikes.
Multi-title winners during the 500cc two-stroke 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, in 2011 before withdrawing at the end of the season citing the financial crisis.
The exit was officially described as a 'temporary suspension of MotoGP racing' with 'an eye to returning in 2014'.
Suzuki last won the premier-class title with Kenny Roberts in 2000, but took just one win - with Chris Vermeulen at a wet Le Mans in 2007 - since the start of the four-stroke era. The factory's most recent podium appearance was at Brno in 2008, using the V4-powered GSV-R.
Suzuki's 2011 exit followed that of Kawasaki (2009) and Aprilia (2004). A 2015 return will raise the number of official MotoGP manufacturers to at least four, joining present participants Yamaha, Honda and Ducati.
Suzuki's 500cc/MotoGP World Champions:
Barry Sheene (1976 and 1977)
Marco Lucchinelli (1981)
Franco Uncini (1982)
Kevin Schwantz (1993)
Kenny Roberts Jr (2000)
Don't miss out! The next round of the 2013 MotoGP World Championship takes place at Assen on June 27-29 - CLICK HERE to see ticket prices from the Official MotoGP Ticket Store.