Opinion: The MotoGP factory that could benefit from Suzuki 2023 shocker

Joan Mir on the Suzuki

The reports that broke on Monday revealing that Suzuki are planning on pulling out of MotoGP at the end of this year are sure to have taken everyone around the paddock by surprise.

It is less than two years since Joan Mir took the Japanese factory to its first world title of the MotoGP era, while Mir’s teammate Alex Rins also has three races wins to his name on the bike, and is in contention for the Championship himself this season.

Indeed, Suzuki themselves still lead the teams’ Championship, and prior to that news emerging, there had aready been rumours circulating about just who might make up Suzuki’s rider lineup for the 2023 campaign.

Now though, it seems the factory could once again be on their way out of the sport, just as they departed little more than a decade ago in 2011, before eventually returning in 2015.

But while Dorna’s strongly worded statement in response to those rumours made it subtly but clearly apparent that the series organisers will not be letting Suzuki leave easily, if the factory is to move on in the next few months, then one other factory currently competing in MotoGP who could stand to benefit, are Aprilia.

For many years, it has seemed that the number of 24 bikes that current hold a permanent place on the MotoGP grid has been the amount the Dorna have always aspired to.

The departure of Suzuki’s pair of machinces would of course, mean that MotoGP would be two short of that number, something Dorna would no doubt be keen to address.

In their aforementioned statement around that Suzuki speculation, Dorna were keen to point out that they reguarly receive interest from other factories and teams about entering into MotoGP.

While the cost involved with such a venture may make it hard to imagine another factory making that step, it is possible that a team currently competing in the lower classes of GP racing, would be keen to force their way through the door to the Premier Class grid that could be left open by Suzuki’s exit.

That would likely come in the form of the new satellite team, running bikes of one of the other factories already in the sport, and given that, other than Suzuki, Aprilia are the only team running only a two-bike factory effort, without any sattelite support, they would be the obvious destination for any upcoming teams.

Indeed, with Aprilia emerging as genuine contender this season, with Aleix Espargaro taking three podiums, including a debut win in Argentina, from just six races this season, the prospect of a link-up with the Italian factory could certainly be appealing to any teams considering a step up to the big time.

Such a link-up is something that could certainly open up a number of other opportunities for Aprilia as well.

If they were to add two more bikes to their roster to fill the spaces that could be left by Suzuki, that means they would have twice as many bikes available to test potential new parts and settings. Since that woud mean more feedback would also therefore coming from each practice or testing session, it would give Aprilia the chance to find the right set-up they need, quicker than they can do now.

Going from two bikes to four would of course, also increase the number of riders available to them, and a satellite team could help them secure the services of prospective young talents who could then be gradually developed into future GP winners for Aprilia, rather than having to chuck such riders in at the deep end in the factory team, as they would have to do as things stand.

From a financial perspective as well, Dorna’s desire to keep the number of bikes in MotoGP at 24 could mean that they themselves would be willing to help fund any potential new satellite team entering into the sport, as they have done in the past, easing some of the burden on Aprilia in running two more bikes as part of their squad.

That of course, is all before we get to the fact that in Mir and Rins, there are now two high quality, proven race winners who find themselves looking for a ride in MotoGP next year.

With Maverick Vinales still struggling to really make an impression at Aprilia, and now starting to air some of his frustrations in public, that availability of those riders may have also come at a useful time for Aprilia.

It seems therefore, that there are a number of possible reasons why the loss of Suzuki to MotoGP, may yet be Aprilia’s gain.

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