Team Suzuki Press Office – September 21st.
The forthcoming Japanese GP at Motegi circuit will be a momentous and emotional one for Team Suzuki Ecstar as the squad enjoy returning to their homeland after two years away, but also face the knowledge that this will be their last race in front of the supportive and long-standing Japanese fans.
Sadly, Joan Mir will not be able to take part in the track action as he continues his recovery from the ankle injury suffered at the Austrian GP last month. Takuya Tsuda will step in as his replacement. The team Test Rider was due to take part in the Japanese GP as a wildcard – a thank you from the squad for all his hard work over the years – but instead he will now ride Joan’s GSX-RR as a stand-in.
The return to Twin Ring Motegi has been long awaited after the pandemic put paid to any running at the circuit, meaning 2019 was the last visit for the MotoGP World Championship. Alex Rins finished 7th that year, but in 2018 he stepped on the podium with 3rd – much to the delight of the team and the 55,000 fans present.
The first MotoGP event at the Twin Ring took place over 20 years ago in 1999, and it holds a special place in the hearts of many. The track itself is very much a ‘stop start’ layout, making it physical and demanding, but also fascinating to watch. The crowds are endlessly supportive, but the weather can also play a huge part in proceedings…
“It’s a bittersweet feeling to return to Japan, I love riding here and visiting this great country, the fans have always been super supportive, but it will be a sad and strange feeling to know it’s my last time here with the Suzuki. However, I would love to relive the happy memories I have from my podium here, and I will give everything to have a great result for the people who work with me, and for the people who cheer me on.”
“It’s an honour to join Team Suzuki Ecstar for this special weekend in Japan. I have been a member of the Test Team since the beginning of the project and I’ve ridden a few races for the team already, but this weekend will be something different; it’s Suzuki’s last MotoGP race in Japan and I can’t wait to ride the GSX-RR in front of the home crowd.”
Livio Suppo – Team Manager
“The championship is finally back in Japan, and it’s a special feeling for me to be here with Suzuki at their last race in Motegi. Of course, it will be a bit of a sad feeling too, and it’s also a pity because Joan can’t ride, but we want to celebrate successes with the fans and enjoy being here. Tsuda-san will join us to replace Joan, and in recognition of the crucial work he’s done over the years to develop the GSX-RR.”