Following last weekend’s Spanish MotoGP at Jerez, Monday’s one-day test was dominated by the shocking news that Suzuki could be about to quit the premier class, despite signing a deal to remain until 2026 just last season. 

And while the Japanese manufacturer remains silent on the matter, it appears increasingly likely that Suzuki will in fact drop its participation in the world championship, with financial issues being the key issue. 

It’s a shock on several fronts as the Hamamatsu-based manufacturer won the world championship as recently as 2020, while major sponsors such as Monster Energy came onboard during the most recent off-season. 

Not to mention Suzuki have two MotoGP winners and have been one of the more successful teams in recent years. 

So what does all this mean for the 2023 MotoGP rider market? 

Firstly, should Suzuki confirm their intention to drop its MotoGP project, then the team being ‘reborn’ under a different brand could take place, thus allowing Joan Mir and Alex Rins to remain team-mates at said team. 

Aprilia are the only manufacturer alongside Suzuki not to have a satellite team, however, significant interest from the Noale-based outfit to do so has been shown in recent seasons, thus making a takeover possible. 

Aprilia for Mir or Rins?

Staying with Aprilia, the Aleix Espargaro-led team is the first that we see fit for either Mir or Rins should Suzuki’s departure leave behind the option of transitioning into a satellite team.   

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Of course, silly season is at its very beginning which means most riders are without contracts as it stands. 

But with manufacturers such as KTM and Ducati likely to look in-house even if Mir and Rins become available - was scheduled to happen anyway from a contractual sense - that only leaves a few viable options. 

Aprilia have no doubt stepped-up as main title challengers in 2022, while it’s arguably the first time since joining MotoGP that they’ve had a bike in which riders would be desperate to get onboard. 

With Espargaro in contention for the 2022 title and all-but guaranteed to stay for next year, that leaves Maverick Vinales’ seat as an option. 

Rins has previously been touted as someone of interest to Aprilia, and given his riding style, MotoGP experience and relationship with Espargaro, the three-time premier class race winner is certainly a name to watch. 

Vinales, who is in desperate need of a big MotoGP result after failing to perform at Jerez, is facing more and more uncertainty over whether Aprilia will keep him. 

Mir could also be of big interest to Aprilia given he’s a rider who’s been a world champion in Moto3 and MotoGP, but with Rins likely to command less cash and Mir potentially having more options elsewhere, we believe Rins would be the more favourable option for Aprilia at this stage.

Could Mir being available change Yamaha, Honda’s plans?

"Many say that Mir will go to Honda or Yamaha but the truth is that Joan was ready to sign his renewal with Suzuki. [GPOne.com] "In fact, the negotiation was already at an advanced stage. He wanted to stay there. That’s always been his priority. What I can say is that he’s in shock at what’s going on and he’s worried."

Those are the words of Paco Sanchez, Mir’s manager as he spoke on a Twitch broadcast after the Jerez test. 

For Mir, a rider who was already set to generate big interest should he have decided to leave Suzuki on his own terms (which we now know was unlikely), could be in-store for significant interest from the two manufacturers mentioned above.

Honda, who are likely to replace Pol Espargaro for next season, could once again form another all-Spanish line-up of Mir and Marc Marquez, one that would arguably be the strongest pairing on the grid. 

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Signing Mir to the factory team would either give them the chance to slide Espargaro down to LCR, perhaps in favour of Alex Marquez, or for the Japanese company to cut ties altogether with the former KTM rider.   

On the other hand, Yamaha could and probably should be the manufacturer with the most interest in Mir. 

Aside from Fabio Quartararo who is considered 99% certain to re-sign with Yamaha, Franco Morbidelli, Andrea Dovizioso and Darryn Binder are all failing to perform - must be said that Binder is making a big step up from Moto3 and should get a second season with RNF. 

While Morbidelli is one of very few riders to have a 2023 contract in his pocket, the Italian has been way off the pace in 2022, and although unlikely, it’s not uncommon for a team/rider to split when things aren’t going well - let’s take Johann Zarco at KTM as an example. 

Obviously Morbidelli has had prior success with Yamaha, but would Mir be of enough interest to make Yamaha rethink its plans. 

Another option would be for Mir to join RNF as he would be granted identical machinery as Quartararo and Morbidelli, however, taking that seat is likely to be challenging as he would need to fend off Raul Fernandez and WorldSBK champion Toprak Razgatlioglu, who remain of interest to Yamaha - current rider Dovizioso looks set to retire after this season.