Team Suzuki has just announced that they have sacked double world 250cc champion Mickael Pichon.

Pichon won the first three races of the 2003 season in the MX GP class before Stefan Everts found form and went on to dominate the series. Meanwhile, Pichon's hopes ended in Germany when he sustained substantial knee damage during a practice fall, which looks likely to rule him out for the next five months.

However, Pichon had been expected to campaign Suzuki's new 450 four-stroke next season, but has now been sacked - apparently due to a lack of motivation for testing and development. He will almost certainly be replaced by former KTM star Joel Smets.

The full Suzuki statement can be seen below:

"Team Suzuki today wish to announce that they will not be retaining the services of Mickael Pichon for the 2004 FIM MX1 Motocross World Championship.

"Despite two 250cc titles and a large amount of GP success together the team believe that another rider who will be more committed to the testing and development of the forthcoming RM-Z 450 is the strongest option for the immediate future.

"The decision not to continue with the contract has no relation whatsoever to the unfortunate injury sustained by Pichon at round ten of the 2003 series in Gaildorf.

"Team Suzuki would like to thank Mickael for his efforts and results in their four-year association and hope that he makes a speedy recovery from his knee injury.

"A replacement rider will be announced by the end of the day." will announce the name of Suzuki's new rider as and when released.

Meanwhile, Pichon's future remains up in the air. He was sacked by Honda while competing in the USA before being picked up by Suzuki and taking his double world championship triumph.

Mickael has admitted he considered retiring before the start of the season and it is unknown whether he'll choose to race on.