Suzuki Takes The Name Suzuki Ecstar in MotoGP Return
Suzuki hasn’t been seen or heard from in the paddock of MotoGP since 2011 when the Japanese bikemaker unexpectedly departed the most prestigious motorcycle racing series in the world. Over the next three seasons, Suzuki didn’t compete in MotoGP, only appearing once last season as a a wild card entry at Valencia, Spain.
Well, Suzuki’s making a triumphant comeback this season and it’s officially returning to MotoGP as the Suzuki Ecstar team.
The Japanese company officially announced the partnership, oddly enough with its own brand of engine oil serving as the titular sponsor of the team. Guess it works better in-house in Suzuki, doesn’t it?
In addition to announcing the team’s official name, the launch also gave us the first glimpse of the newly developed Suzuki GSX-RR that the team is set to use in its first season back in MotoGP. Dressed in the team’s new livery, the pair of GSX-RR models will be ridden by Aleix Espargaro and 2013 Moto3 champion Maverick Vinales. The team definitely picked two pretty exciting young drivers to lead its comeback. In fact, Espargaro already has some experience in MotoGP, finishing last season in seventh overall place while riding for Forward Yamaha.
Suzuki’s return to MotoGP under the Suzuki Ecstar team will undoubtedly add some intrigue to the 2015 MotoGP season, as if it needs to add more storylines to the myriad of juicy subplots already being talked about in the series.
Welcome back, Suzuki. We’re glad to have you back in MotoGP.
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Why it matters
During Suzuki’s last full season in MotoGP, it finished dead last among the four manufacturers that had bikes competing in the race. It was an ignominious finish for the Japanese motorcycle brand, which might have pushed Suzuki out of the MotoGP door faster than it intended to.
But the company will probably tell you that it’s all in the past. This season, Suzuki is coming back with a vengeance, bent on reclaiming the status it once had as a contender in MotoGP.
Personally, I’m excited to see how Suzuki, or to be more specific, Suzuki Ecstar, will fare once it lines up against the Hondas, Yamahas, and Ducatis in MotoGP. I don’t expect the team to be gangbusters off the gate, but if it can string up some race wins throughout the season to go with some high finishes, it would become a really successful season for the team.
Right now, the team is being talked about as an underdog, flying under the radar whilst other teams have the spotlight on them. That’s the perfect position to be in. No pressure, right?