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GP Week : Issue 155
18 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: Last week’s leaked spy shots of Suzuki’s MotoGP bike on test at Sugo are suggestive in more ways than merely mechanical. They prove that the company really can’t bear to live without racing. When they pulled out, breaking a history stretching back to 1960, there were fears that financial constraints would over-rule the desire to return. The company formally promised to be back in 2014, but many thought it an empty promise. It looked more as though the bean-counters might finally have prevailed. To them it the money spent on GP racing could be more effectively employed in advertising and marketing. A point of view that gained greater credence every year the Suzuki MotoGP team posted another disappointing result. The spy shots suggest that in fact Suzuki might be ready to come back next year instead of the year after. This is significant. From 2015 (2014, according to some sources) swingeing technical restrictions are due. And it’s all up in the air. At present, technical regulations for next season have yet to be finalised, let alone those for the following years. In other words, the longer Suzuki put it off, the less clear the target. And there’s not much point developing an all-new grand prix bike, if it’s not going to be eligible to race. It looks like next year’s technical regulations will be much as this year’s (restrictions are more likely to be in engine or bike numbers than rev limits). Better get back quick. It also demonstrates something shared by all three of the currently participating bike companies. They love racing. Or at least enough senior people within them love it to the extent they can over-rule what some might see as wiser counsel. This affirms what everyone in the paddock already knows. Racing is sport-business, entertainment, promotion, development tool .. . all of these things, to some degree. But above all that it is a love affair. Or as Ducati people put it (repeatedly, ad nauseum), a passion. Whether at corporate or private level, it is the binding force that keeps us all coming back, whatever role we have. This affirmation came in the week after Casey Stoner had turned his back on this shared obsession – some people took it as a personal slight, as if he had somehow belittled or devalued their own commitment. This made the renewed Suzuki hopes very welcome. But it’s as wrong to take Stoner’s rebuttal of racing personally as it is to do the same to Suzuki’s tangible statement of intent. More important to respect his individual decision, and try and understand the heartache he must be feeling. And to celebrate Suzuki’s apparent policy turnaround. Passion takes different people in different ways. The vital thing is that it never dies. OPINION MICHAEL SCOTT MotoGP Editor IT'S PERSONAL – But don't take it personally! OPINION