The long-awaited announcement follows last week’s reports that team members had been told of Suzuki’s shock decision to quit, just six races into the latest five-year MotoGP contract.

However, the legalities of such an early contract separation still need to be settled, hence the factory's short and carefully worded statement that it is ‘in discussions’ with Dorna over 'the possibility' of a MotoGP exit.

But Suzuki's intentions are clear.

The statement cites the ‘current economical situation’ and ‘need to concentrate its effort on the big changes that the Automotive world is facing' (presumably electric vehicles) before expressing 'our deepest gratitude' to the team and fans:

“Suzuki Motor Corporation is in discussions with Dorna regarding the possibility of ending its participation in MotoGP at the end of 2022.

“Unfortunately, the current economical situation and the need to concentrate its effort on the big changes that the Automotive world is facing in these years, are forcing Suzuki to shift costs and human resources to develop new technologies.

“We would like to express our deepest gratitude to our Suzuki Ecstar Team, to all those who have supported Suzuki's motorcycle racing activities for many years and to all Suzuki fans who have given us their enthusiastic support.”

Suzuki won the MotoGP world championship with Joan Mir in 2020, finished third with Mir last season and has taken two podiums with Alex Rins so far this season.

The missing line: Suzuki also considering 'an end to other racing activities'?

Intriguingly, there is a small but significant difference in the statements published by Suzuki (as above) and on the official MotoGP website.

Dorna's statement attributed to Suzuki also includes an extra line, before the final paragraph, which reads: 'For the same reason, Suzuki is also considering to end other racing activities.'

In other words, according to the statement, Suzuki could be planning to effectively step back from all its remaining motorsport activities:

Suzuki previously ‘temporarily suspended’ its MotoGP activities, from 2012-2014, due to fallout from the financial crisis.

However, its MotoGP contract expired at the same time and the company also provided a planned return date, helping ensure Dorna reserved its grid places.

But the nature of the factory’s 2022 exit is sure to leave a far more sour taste and it could be a very long time, if ever, before Suzuki is seen again in grand prix racing.

The only positive news is that, by announcing early in the season, they have at least Mir, Rins and other team members time to try and find alternative employment for 2023.

Although yet to add to his Valencia 2020 race win, Mir, 24, is widely considered among the best of the ‘new’ generation of riders, alongside the likes of Fabio Quartararo and Francesco Bagnaia.

Mir could well turn his attention to vacancies such as the Repsol Honda seat alongside Marc Marquez, having previously been a target for Honda before signing with Suzuki for his debut 2019 MotoGP season.

Rins meanwhile is Suzuki’s most successful rider in terms of race wins (3) and podiums (15) on the GSX-RR. The 26-year-old finished third in the team’s historic 2020 season and has taken their only rostrums of 2022.

Like Mir, Rins would no doubt prefer to remain as a full factory rider next year, but might he also consider options such as a satellite RNF Yamaha seat? Aside from Suzuki, Yamaha’s M1 is the only other bike to use an inline four-cylinder engine.

Suzuki announces financial results

'- In FY2021, net sales increased, operating profit decreased, mainly owing to increase in raw material prices. Annual dividends up by ¥1 to ¥91 year-on-year.'

'- In FY2022, net sales and operating profit are expected to increase. Annual dividends are planned to be 91 yen, the same amount as in FY2021.'

Official confirmation of the MotoGP exit plans came just a day after Suzuki released its financial results for the past year (April 2021- March 2022), a period that covers the global relaxation of Covid restrictions through to the start of the war in Ukraine.

The overall results showed no major financial setbacks in Year-on-Year terms, with net sales increasing by 12.3% and operating profit decreasing by just 1.5%, ‘mainly owing to an increase in raw material prices’. 

The operating result for Suzuki’s motorcycle segment followed a similar pattern, although there was a much bigger drop in profits to 59.5%, again attributed to raw materials:

Motorcycle business

'Net sales increased by ¥8.7 billion (14.1%) to ¥69.8 billion YoY, mainly owing to expanded sales of higher range models such as the new Hayabusa. However, operating profit decreased by ¥2.3 billion (59.5%) to ¥1.7 billion YoY, mainly owing to increase in raw material prices.'

But that ¥2.3 billion profit decrease was overshadowed by an ¥8.3 billion (18.2%, to ¥37.1 billion) profit drop for Suzuki's much larger Automobile business, which also had a 2.3% sales decrease. 

Suzuki's Marine business saw a sales increase of ¥4.1 billion (17.3%) to ¥27.9 billion while operating profit decreased by ¥0.3 billion (5.9%) to ¥5.2 billion.

In terms of geographical operating results for Suzuki as a whole:

'In Japan, profit increased YoY, mainly owing to reduction in expenses and the positive foreign exchange. In Other regions, profit increased YoY, due to an increase in sales units mainly in Africa. On the other hand, profit decreased YoY in Asia and Europe.'

Looking ahead, the company’s overall financial forecast for 2022 is that both sales (+9.3%) and profit (+1.8%) will grow.

Notably, an increase in costs associated with 'EV' (electric vehicle) development is also listed in the 2022 forecast, which would appear to fit with the 'shift in costs and human resources to develop new technologies' mentioned in the MotoGP statement.

Forecast of Full-Year Financial Results for FY2022

'Although concerns over the procurement of parts including semiconductors and the future of global situation are uncertain, the Company outlined full-year forecast for FY2022, which includes net sales to be ¥3,900 billion [up 9.3% YoY] mainly owing to an increase in sales units, improvement in unit prices, and the depreciation of yen.

'Operating profit is expected to be ¥195 billion (Operating margin 5.0% [up 1.8% YoY]), reflecting the impact of increase in raw material prices and increase in costs associated with CASE initiatives such as EV development.

'The Company plans annual dividends of 91 yen per share, the same amount as in FY2021.'

There is no reference to possible financial fallout from recent investigations into a potential breach of EU diesel emissions.