It was at the same track just two years ago that Joan Mir joined the likes of Barry Sheene, Kevin Schwantz and Kenny Roberts Jr as a Suzuki premier-class world champion.
A subsequent five-year extension with Dorna looked to have secured Suzuki’s MotoGP future, alongside the other manufacturers, until at least 2026.
But then came a shock decision from the Suzuki board, delivered to the team at Jerez in May, that they had decided to pull out of MotoGP at the end of this year.
Until that moment, the 2022 GSX-RR had been inside the top six at every round, including two podiums, but wouldn’t do so again until Alex Rins’ emotional victory in Australia.
Rins and Mir have sealed a move to Honda for next season, when their current Suzuki crew, many with the project since the factory’s 2015 return, will likewise try and disperse among rival teams.
But first, there will be one ‘last dance’, at Valencia.
“It’s going to be a strange and sad weekend, but I’m determined to have a good one,” said Rins, a Suzuki rider since his 2017 MotoGP debut. “My team have given me everything over the years, and I’ll give my all to pay them back with a good result one last time.
“Our team attitude has always been to try and stay happy, so let’s enter Valencia with good vibes and try to enjoy every moment.”
Mir, who has also spent his entire MotoGP career on a GSX-RR, and took his only MotoGP win at Valencia in 2020, added:
“I want to put everything together for this final round, for me and for my squad. I can be fast here, and my bike can be too, but we just need a little bit of luck on our side to tie it all together.
“I’ve had a few issues lately such as my arm pump in Malaysia, and the pressure gauge problem in Australia, and all I want now is to have a trouble-free weekend so I can bring this chapter to a close with my fantastic team and enjoy the final race.”
Team manager Livio Suppo, who was only drafted into the project at the start of this season, said:
“We’re facing the last dance here in Spain this weekend, and for sure it will be an unusual weekend for us all. But since this announcement was made by Japan we’ve been keen to keep our heads up, and I believe the entire team have been extremely professional all season long; I’m proud of this.
“Let’s push to celebrate some final success all together.”