Suzuki factory will face pressure from Dorna to expand operation in following years to run a satellite team alongside factory effort
Suzuki will consider the possibility of expanding their MotoGP effort to four bikes in 2017 amidst pressure from Dorna to run a satellite team, according to team boss Davide Brivio.
The Japanese marque makes its long-awaited return to the premier class in 2015 with their factory team consisting of Spanish duo Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Viñales.
Brivio confirmed that Dorna would eventually apply pressure to all manufacturers to have at least four machines on the grid. The factory will, however, have to consider resources available to them before making a final decision.
“You know there are two things,” he said. “Suzuki has always been one factory team. We would like to continue with the two bikes of course. [But] Probably in the future we will also get the pressure from Dorna to have a satellite team. Now it's difficult for 2015 and probably also 2016 because we are under development and we need a lot of resources to do that.
“For the future we have to think to see if we can afford to have another two bikes. This will be discussed in the future but Dorna would like to see all the manufacturers having four bikes on the track.”
Asked whether expanding to four bikes was a stipulation in its contract with Dorna, he said, “Not yet. But this is something we will discuss in the future.”
Project leader Satoru Terada also confirmed that the factory has begun their testing programme with Michelin ahead of the French company's re-entry to the series in 2016. The results have been impressive thus far.
“We already started testing with Michelin,” said Terada. “It's different of course. The rider views [that] both the front and rear are very different but the lap time is not so different from the Bridgestone tyre.”
Pushed on whether the factory will need to develop a new frame around the different tyre characteristics he said, “At the moment I don't think about another chassis. I think we can adapt [to these tyres].”
Lead rider Aleix Espargaro impressed at the Valencia test, placing twelfth overall, one second behind the fastest time of the week. Viñales, meanwhile, was the fastest of the class rookies, a further nine places and 1.2 seconds back from his team-mate.
Development rider Randy de Puniet has previously urged Suzuki to consider creating a satellite team
in an effort to speed up progress on the bike and give it a better chance against its Honda, Yamaha and Ducati rivals.