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Sahara: “If Suzuki exists, it should exist in racing”

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Sinichi Saharaproject leader Suzuki in MotoGP, speaks for the first time about the progress of his World Cup brand. He reveals that he does not agree with his boss’s decision and that he tried to convince them. He does not rule out a return, but it would not be in the short term.

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QUESTION. How are you doing to stay motivated because the latest results after Suzuki’s decision are very bad?

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RESPONSE. I don’t know if Suzuki’s decision, the announcement, has affected the results or not. For my part, I have never lost my motivation and I think that the whole team, all the staff, has not lost it. Of course I try to stay motivated, but I also try not to be hyper-motivated, like, ‘After this announcement, I have to be strong…’. No. I try to be the same. Now, until Sachsenring, we have been in a bad moment, maybe since Le Mans. We have only finished once and with only one driver. But both Joan (Mir) and Álex (Rins) are in very good shape. Also the performance of our bike is for sure better than last year. That’s why, for me, it’s a shame not to show our real potential. But it’s not too late to fight for the head, again. We never give up on anything.

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P. Is a victory possible before leaving the World Cup?

A. Yes, of course. We can fight to win at each circuit because Álex is in good shape, even being injured, without being one hundred percent. Even so, he performed very well today. I have no doubt that we can be in the lead again.

At some point, Suzuki should return to MotoGP

Q. In Germany, Joan Mir told the media: ‘I still don’t know why Suzuki is leaving.’ Can you tell Mir and a lot of people why she’s leaving?

A. OK. I am not allowed to say anything about this because Suzuki has never officially announced, yet, about his departure from the World Championship, but when Suzuki made that statement he said that his intention was to leave MotoGP because Suzuki wants to put all its resources, in personnel and financial, in developing new technologies. This includes electric vehicles, electric motorcycles, the neutral carbon footprint… For me, MotoGP is also very important to develop neutral carbon because there are already rules for this new fuel to have 40 percent in 2024 and without anything fossil in 2026. With what is a decision of the company. Sometimes, you have to follow what they say, even if you are not happy. Also, probably, it is not a good time for the investments of all companies due to the covid pandemic, the war in Ukraine… but in my personal opinion it is that in those moments you have to maintain the activity to give joy to the fans , to the employees, but, again, it is a decision of the company.

At times like this you have to keep up the activity to give joy to the fans

P. You received the call from the bosses with the decision. What was your first reaction when you found out?

R. Of course it was not good. I wasn’t crying, but all the energy left my body. But, at the time, we were racing, so after thinking about it for about five or ten minutes, I said to myself: ‘I can’t stop thinking about the race weekend, now getting a good result is more important.’ To recover from the situation, to take it as well as possible.

I hope that Suzuki’s brand image will not be worsened by this decision.

P. Did you try to convince your bosses or did you see that it was impossible?

R. Try to convince them? Of course. I can’t give details on how. I’m still trying to get everyone to handle the situation as best as possible.

Q. And what will you do now?

R. After Assen, I’m going to Japan (laughs). No, the most important thing is to try to win races because the priority is to handle the situation as well as possible.
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P. Suzuki and Dorna have to reach an agreement because there is a contract in which they continue until 2026. How are the negotiations going?

R. They are still negotiating. I was in the group that met to discuss it. Of course I’m not the most important man to negotiate with. The big bosses listen to me, but I don’t know what influenced them, but at least they listen to me.

Of course I tried to convince the bosses to make another decision

P. Do your bosses know that the image of your company has fallen because of this decision?

A. I hope not. The things that we achieved since we came back in these seven or eight years, what we did, the big bosses should know and also how we did it. I explained these things to the big bosses. I hope Suzuki’s image doesn’t get worse, but I’m still thinking about how to manage this.

The most important thing is to win races to better handle this situation

Q. Is a Suzuki return to MotoGP possible? When could be?

A. I have no idea. For me, racing is in Suzuki’s DNA. If the Suzuki company exists, Suzuki in racing should exist. So at some point in the future, Suzuki should come back. It is my personal opinion.

Q. And when?

A. There is no plan. Nothing, they don’t tell me anything. But you can imagine that maybe in the future electric motorcycle racing will become more important. Nobody knows. If this happens, why won’t Suzuki come back?


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