After months of speculation, the Suzuki Motor Corporation has confirmed they will cease their factory racing efforts in the Monster Energy FIM Motocross World Championship/MXGP series and the All-Japan MX National Championship in 2018. The news comes just hours after the final round of the Japanese MX series.
This news does not negatively impact the American brand of Suzuki’s racing department, as we’ve been told it will actually increase the brand’s attention to the AutoTrader/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing team (JGRMX).
Suzuki was clear to state that this will also not impact the production of the RM-Z450 and RM-Z250 motorcycles in any way.
We initially heard this rumor while in North Carolina for the launch of the 2018 Suzuki RM-Z line. In the final rounds of the 2017 Monster Energy FIM Motocross World Championship, we learned that the European divisions of Suzuki’s racing efforts informed their riders and team members of the Team Suzuki World MXGP outfit that there would be no factory operation in the next season and riders have scrambled to find new support. Hunter Lawrence was the first to announce his new deal, which is a multi-year contract with GEICO Honda in the United States that will allow him to compete for one more year in the MX2 division of the 2018 Monster Energy FIM Motocross World Championship through the new Team Honda 114 Motorsports team and then move to the United States in 2019. It was recently announced that Bas Vaessen, another former MX2 rider of the Suzuki squad, will also join Team Honda 114 Motorsports.
There has not been announced confirmation of where Jeremy Seewer and Arminas Jasikonis, two riders that held contracts for 2018 to Team Suzuki World MXGP, will land. The contract that Kevin Strijbos held with the team ran out at the end of the 2017 season and he is expected to land with the newly reformed Standing Construct KTM team.
As for Japanese riders Yohei Kojima and Kouichi Fukaya, it’s unclear where they will land in 2018.
We’ve heard multiple reasons for the shutdown, including expense, new bike development, desire to increase presence in America because it is the largest off-road market in the world, and increased attention to Suzuki’s growing MotoGP program.
The full press release from Suzuki on the decision is posted below…
Suzuki Motor Corporation has decided to suspend the FIM World MXGP Championship and All Japan Motocross activities from 2018.
Suzuki Motor Corporation, having reviewed its Motorcycle operations to focus on the core business functions and restructuring of our motorcycle business, concluded to suspend the MXGP activities from 2018.
Suzuki will continue to produce RM-Z250 and 450 series and support those customers the entire world.
Suzuki expresses its great appreciation to sponsors and fans around the world for their strong support to its activities. The company will continue to provide valued products for its customers by utilizing the experiences earned through the Racing activities.