Suzuki to rejoin MotoGP for the 2015 season
The Japanese manufacturer pulled out of the sport in 2011
Nobuatsu Aoki and Randy De Puniet rode for the team in Monday's test
Honda will return to Formula One in 2015, supplying engines to McLaren
Japan’s re-emergence into global motorsport has gathered pace after Suzuki confirmed it will return to elite motorbike racing in 2015.
Suzuki withdrew from MotoGP at the end of the 2011 season, blaming the global recession for its decision to leave the sport, but has had a rethink to partly help develop its range of bikes.
“Suzuki Motor Corporation has organized its test team to undergo more practical running tests at its advanced development stage and will participate in the official joint testing to be held at the Catalunya circuit in Spain,” said a Suzuki statement.
“Through continuing running tests at the circuits inside and outside Japan for further development and refinement, Suzuki will participate again in MotoGP racing from 2015.
“Suzuki will feed back advanced technology to be derived through MotoGP racing activity to develop further attractive production models.”
Japan’s Nobuatsu Aoki and current Aspar Racing team rider Randy de Puniet were in the saddle as Suzuki made its return to the track during Monday’s official test event at the Circuit de Catalunya.
“I am satisfied because the first test at Motegi was quite good and now we are at a GP track, with most of the other riders and running in the same conditions,” France’s De Puniet told the sport’s official website after Monday’s first run.
“I think we did a great job because I’m only seven tenths slower than the best lap time today and after only 50 or 60 laps; all of the other riders have already been here for three days. I am satisfied, but think we could be even faster if we had one more day.
“Anyway, it’s a good start because we now go to Aragon for a two-day test, so I really hope to do the same job and have the same feeling with the bike.”
Suzuki’s return follows Honda’s decision to make its Formula One comeback by agreeing to supply engines to the McLaren team from 2015 onwards.
Suzuki boasts a two-wheel racing heritage which dates back to the 1970s, with Britain’s Barry Sheene winning the 500c world championship in 1976.
Five further championships followed, with the last being won by American Kenny Roberts Jr. in 2000.