MotoGP

Leopard Racing “absolutely interested” in replacing Suzuki in MotoGP

On Monday Autosport broke the bombshell news that Suzuki will quit MotoGP at the end of the season in a decision it only communicated to the race team on the same day during the post-race test at Jerez.

An official announcement was expected on Tuesday, but did not materialise.

Instead, Dorna Sports – MotoGP owners – issued its own statement saying Suzuki could not decide to quit the series on its own as it is bound to a contract through to the end of 2026 along with the rest of the manufacturers.

Dorna also noted that it had “high levels of interest” from independent teams and official factories about joining the grid if the opportunity arose.

Leopard – Moto3 title winners with Danny Kent in 2015, Joan Mir in 2017 and Lorenzo Dalla Porta in 2019 – has been keen to join the MotoGP grid in the past, and once again reiterated that desire to Autosport on Thursday during a private Moto3 and Moto2 test in Barcelona.

“We will see how the situation evolves, there is a contract involved and I don’t think Suzuki can leave just like that because it has a signed contract until 2026,” Leopard boss Christian Lundberg said.

“We’ll see, but if a seat is freed up and God willing, they [Dorna] give it to us, we’ll be very happy.

“The whole paddock knows that we are absolutely interested and that we would try to take that step, but there’s still a long way to go before it can happen.”

Alex Rins, Team Suzuki MotoGP

Alex Rins, Team Suzuki MotoGP

Photo by: Dorna

If Leopard does get the nod to step up to MotoGP, Lundberg says it will be in partnership with Aprilia.

“I think the only option would be to do it with Aprilia because, in my opinion, Dorna has to reward in one way or another the only constructor on the grid that only has two bikes, and today all the bikes are very competitive,” he added.

“So, it would be very good for us to work with Aprilia, plus we are a half-Italian team and it would be easier than working with the Japanese, I think it would be the best option.”

During the Spanish GP weekend, Aprilia CEO Massimo Rivola told Autosport that it was open to fielding a satellite team if the right offer came along.

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