After returning to MotoGP full-time in 2015 and winning the World Championship with Joan Mir in 2020, Suzuki shockingly announced midway through the 2022 season that it would end its participation at the end of the year.
Suzuki cited financial issues and changing market trends as the main reasons, with the closure of the Japanese marque’s official programs having a knock-on effect in many paddocks.
Speaking during the Assen round of the Superbike World Championship, Viegas said he was convinced that one day Suzuki would return to MotoGP because “it can’t sell bikes if it’s not racing” and is “optimistic” that other brands will invest in the world championships authorized by the fim.
“It’s difficult because Suzuki has abandoned us,” he said when asked by Motorsport.com what the FIM hopes to do to attract new manufacturers to MotoGP and World Superbike.
“I had a chance to talk to Mr. Suzuki in Japan, and they said they were going to put whatever money they had into a new type of engine, blah, blah, blah.”
“I think they’ll come back. They can’t sell bikes if they’re not competing.”
“We’ve had two very difficult years with COVID, but I think things are improving now and that new manufacturers will enter both categories, MotoGP and World Superbike, which isn’t easy because the investments in MotoGP are huge.”
Joan Mir, Team Suzuki MotoGP
Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
“But in Superbike you need an excellent investment to be competitive. But now, in the World Endurance Championship, Ducati has joined the group, something that didn’t happen before. And they have the help of the brand.”
“So, I’m optimistic, but what we have to do to get them here is to make sure that the regulations are made in agreement with the manufacturers, not against them, otherwise they won’t come.”
“So all this is an interactive system that we are following continuously with the promoter, with the MSMA and within the FIM we discuss it a lot. So, this is the only way: discuss and decide.”
Viegas added that, in terms of MotoGP, only Kawasaki and BMW are missing, but there is currently no room to expand the current five brands on the grid.
“Kawasaki and BMW are missing in MotoGP,” he said. “But they don’t want to come and for the moment there’s no space. Maybe Suzuki will come back, we’ll see.”