Suzuki has confirmed plans to pull out of MotoGP at the end of the season, with the manufacturer citing economic factors for its decision.

The Japanese marque had been recently mooted to quit the series, and that was made official in a statement on Thursday that said talks were taking place with MotoGP promoters Dorna Sports.

The Suzuki statement read: "Suzuki Motor Corporation is in discussions with Dorna regarding the possibility of ending Suzuki's participation in MotoGP at the end of 2022.

"Unfortunately, the current economic situation and the need to concentrate its effort on the big changes that the automotive world is facing in these years, are forcing Suzuki to drastically decrease racing-related costs and to use all its economical and human resources in developing new technologies.

"We would like to express our deepest gratitude to our Suzuki Ecstar team, to all those who have supported Suzuki's motorcycle racing activities for many years and to all Suzuki fans who have given us their enthusiastic support."

Dorna Sports reacted to initial reports of Suzuki considering pulling out of the championship by saying terms of its agreement with MotoGP meant the manufacturer could not make such a decision unilaterally.

"However, should Suzuki depart following an agreement between both parties, Dorna will decide on the ideal number of riders and teams racing in the MotoGP class from 2023," the Dorna Sports statement read. "Dorna continues to receive high levels of interest from a number of both official factories and Independent Teams looking to join the MotoGP grid."

Thursday's confirmation of talks with Dorna appears to have brought Suzuki's exit a significant step closer.

Suzuki Ecstar won the team title in 2020, when Spanish rider Joan Mir triumphed in the riders' championship. Mir and the team both finished third in 2021.

In an apparent response to the announcement, Mir posted on social media a picture of his 2020 celebration with team staff, with the message: "You are the best! Always in my heart.".

Francesco Bagnaia's late-season rally did not come in time to push Fabio Quartararo all the way for the 2021 MotoGP title, but the Ducati rider's outstanding form has shown him how to compete next year.

Quartararo clinched the championship at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix when second-placed Bagnaia dramatically crashed out.

On Sunday, at the Algarve Grand Prix, Bagnaia – starting from pole for a fifth consecutive race – won while Quartararo crashed.

If not for his untimely previous retirement, the Italian would be still within touching distance of the season leader heading into the final round.

"If I had the win in Misano, today was perfect for me," Bagnaia told a news conference. "But it's not like this."

Bagnaia's result clinched second and also delivered the constructors' championship for Ducati, who now lead the teams' standings, too.

But attention can start to turn towards next year, when Bagnaia will hope to be competitive from the outset.

"I think we didn't lose the championship in Misano," he said. "I lost a lot of points before and I started to be so competitive after some races.

"For sure, it's a really great base for next year. Also we have worked so hard and so well with our bike, so for next year we have a really great base."

Of course, Bagnaia would have to cope with significant pressure if he were to lead the title race from the outset, and he acknowledged riding this week without the championship on the line was an easier experience.

"I didn't change it compared to Misano," he explained. "But in Misano, I was trying to [keep] open the championship but I was knowing that it was very difficult to win it.

"Today, if I had the win in Misano, for sure Quartararo was not crashing. I was racing without the pressure of the championship, so I just did the same thing."

Quartararo took the title from Joan Mir, who is also keen to respond in 2022 after a difficult championship defence.

He finished second on Sunday for the second time this year but has not won a single race and said Suzuki would have to work on a "better base".

For now, Mir was simply delighted to be back in contention on race day, saying: "Honestly, I'm so happy, I'm especially happy for this podium.

"It's not for the result, it's more for the weekend that we did. It was unbelievable. I felt so good from the first moment and I was able to be competitive from FP1.

"Then, as Pecco said, when you feel good with the bike and the base is good, everything came easily. What I needed was a weekend like this one."

Francesco Bagnaia and Jack Miller both lauded the impact Casey Stoner had on their rides after the Ducati duo sealed a one-two in qualifying for the Algarve Grand Prix.

Though Fabio Quartararo already has the MotoGP world title sewn up, the rest of the field are still fighting for position and second-placed Bagnaia set a record lap time at Portimao in Q2 on Saturday.

That effort saw the Italian sensationally claim pole position for a fifth straight race. This is the second run of the same rider taking five poles in a row this season after Quartararo also did so.

Miller had provisional pole, but Bagnaia snatched first place on the grid away from his team-mate and then improved to a final time of 1:38.725.

With Stoner a guest of Ducati throughout the weekend, as well as for the Valencia Grand Prix, both Bagnaia and Miller expressed their desire for Ducati to employ a rider coach for next season, with the Australian – who won the MotoGP title in 2007 and 2011 – a prime candidate.

Bagnaia told a news conference: "It could be a nice present from Ducati to have Casey as a coach next year.

"It's a different point of view, he's a legend and it's different to have a coach, because in Ducati we don't have a coach and for me it helps a lot.

"Maybe next year we can have him. But for me today he helped a bit for the last corner, the exit of the last corner, and it was useful."

Miller, a compatriot of Stoner, added: "It's fantastic to have Casey at the last two grands prix.

"He's got a family and lives on another side of the world, so the idea of that working out I think could be too hard logistically and whatnot.

"But I'd be all for it 100 per cent. But like Pecco said, it is really nice, I've worked with spotters on track and he's not a normal spotter – let's say it like that.

"It's Casey Stoner, a legend, one of the best ever. But I think it is something we're missing in our programme and I think it is definitely something we need to look at maybe introducing into the programme.

"I'm not saying we can get Casey, I'm more than happy to have him, but somebody."

Behind the Ducati duo, Joan Mir of Suzuki Ecstar claimed third. Remarkably, it is the first time the Spaniard, who won the title in 2020, will start on the front row in a MotoGP race.

"Maybe starting in the first row it will help to be more in front and have the situation a little bit more under control," said Mir, who expanded on a heated exchange he had with Alex Marquez at the end of the session.

"Well, Alex was following me I think until FP3 in all the sessions, also FP4 and the first exit in qualifying and the second one he was waiting again," he explained.

"If he didn't disturb me then it's not a problem, but in that moment I made the first lap quite slow to warm up the tyres; the lap time was not bad, but I was warming the tyres and I had just one lap left, but then he decided to overtake me on the braking and went wide. 

"That's why I was angry. Alex came to the box to apologise which is something I appreciate. At that moment I was not happy because I could not get the 100 per cent today."

Fabio Quartararo revealed how a change in mindset has helped him enjoy a strong start to the new MotoGP season after making it two wins from three races in 2021.

After prevailing in Qatar in the previous round, the Frenchman came out on top in an action-packed Portuguese Grand Prix in Portimao, despite a shaky start from pole position.

Quartararo – who rejoiced by copying Cristiano Ronaldo’s goal celebration – was aided by Alex Rins crashing out when second, giving the leader breathing space at the front of the field.

"My start was good, but unfortunately others made better. I'm so happy, because honestly, I didn't expect to make that pace. The pace was so strong," Quartararo said.

"I knew we had a little bit of extra pace from Alex. He was running so fast then he made a mistake, but the pace that we set was unexpected from myself.

"But it feels great to enjoy that track a lot. It's a unique track."

The Monster Yamaha rider now leads the way in the standings, having approached the campaign with a more positive attitude. Francesco Bagnaia ended up taking second place in Portugal with reigning MotoGP champion Joan Mir completing the podium.

"Yamaha made a big step compared to last year, but for more mentally I feel stronger," Quartararo explained to the media.

"I've learned a lot – last year, when the bike was not going so great, I was always thinking negatively. I've totally changed – feeling positive always.

"I arrived here and knew that the bike was working, and even those things that weren't working so well, I wasn't thinking about them. To set the pace we did was not easy, but I was focused."

Suzuki Ecstar's Mir recorded his first top-three finish in the embryonic stages of the season, a result he was happy with considering Yamaha have dominated so far with three straight victories.

"I knew that if I was unable to overtake in the last laps, it would be impossible to overtake in the straight," said Mir. "But it was a positive weekend overall.

"This is probably not the best track for me and I was able to finish on the podium, so I'm happy.

"In warm-up I felt really strong, but in the middle of the race I felt some trouble with some parts of the bike. In the last laps I managed to survive and was able to maintain a positive pace.

"This is not the best start to the championship for us, for me. But at both Qatar and here we were fighting for the podium.

"It is our goal to be fighting in Jerez and Le Mans too, then I expect to be stronger, but now I have to survive and score as many points as possible."

Alpine have appointed Davide Brivio, the former boss of MotoGP team Suzuki Ecstar, as their racing director.

Renault announced the departure of team principal Cyril Abiteboul on Monday ahead of their rebrand to Alpine for the 2021 Formula One campaign, and now they have added new blood.

Brivio was linked to F1 after quitting his post with Suzuki Ecstar, who won the team and rider championships in last year's MotoGP season.

An Alpine statement read: "Davide Brivio joins Alpine F1 Team as racing director.

"We are delighted to confirm Davide Brivio will strengthen our team ahead of the 2021 Formula One season. His specific role and responsibilities will be announced in the coming weeks.

"Davide will report to the Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi.

"Davide joins Alpine F1 Team with a wealth of experience and success following more than 20 years in the MotoGP world championship.

"We look forward to welcoming Davide as we start the next stage of our Formula One journey."

Alpine's driver line-up is made up of Frenchman Esteban Ocon and former two-time champion Fernando Alonso.

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