The year 2016 was a great year for the MotoGP efforts of Suzuki. The manufacturer had freshly rejoined the paddock after several years away, and the future looked bright. Young Maverick Viñales rode to the manufacturers first win, and in his capable hands, the GSX-RR scored many podiums. Many expected this success to continue in 2017, but a lackluster season is not only putting a damper on Suzuki’s plans, it could cost a talented rider his job.
Could Iannone Lose His Job?
After a successful 2016 season, Maverick Viñales took the opportunity to replace Jorge Lorenzo at Yamaha. This left Suzuki with an open seat that it filled with Andrea Iannone. Known for his intense racing and well above average skill, Iannone was seen as a potentially suitable replacement for Maverick. Despite having a 2016 season overshadowed by on track incidents with his fellow Ducati rider, Andrea Dovizioso, Iannone managed several podium finishes and a grand prix win. This made 2017 a hopeful season for the manufacturer, but this was not to be.
Iannone rode an underwhelming season in 2017, scoring only 70 points with no podiums and no wins. At one point, rumors had started circulating that Iannone would be replaced by World Superbike Champion Jonathan Rea. However, a spate of top six finishes at the end of the season crushed that rumor, though grumblings still remain.
Moto GP legend, and Suzuki ambassador, Kevin Schwantz thinks it’s time for Iannone to go. He believes that the rider did not give 100 percent in 2017, and there’s no excuse. Suzuki teammate Alex Rins scored 59 points in the 2017 season, but as a rookie to the GP class, he was not in a position to lead the team. Hence, leadership fell to Iannone to take what many believe is a very capable GP bike to the top steps of the rostrum.
Iannone’s contract expires at the end of the 2018 season, which means he has only a few races to prove that he can lead Suzuki’s MotoGP efforts. Because silly season starts earlier every year, we can expect to see Iannone either thrive or crash and burn early, because his career may depend on it. Do you think he’ll rise to the challenge, or will Suzuki take Schwantz’s advice and look elsewhere for talent? The attorneys who ride at Metier Law Firm can’t wait for the 2018 season to take off so we can find out.