Martin Halsall has branded Suzuki GB as “unprofessional” and “difficult to work with” following an ongoing issue, stemming from last year when the BSB Team Owner decided to drop the Japanese manufacturer after “poor communication”. Halsall once again mentioned communication as an issue, with Suzuki GB seemingly ignoring anything Martin mentions.
“I’m pretty disappointed really, with Suzuki. I had approached Suzuki to see if I could buy some bikes to do the Isle of Man TT with William Dunlop and then with a view to return to BSB. However, due to difficulty with Suzuki, I have not been able to get my hands on the bikes”.
“I have now written a letter to Japan to see if that can do anything but what Suzuki have got to realise is that they are a PLC, so they’re answerable to shareholders. So, the people not selling me the bikes are answerable to the people willing to invest in their business”.
Halsall left the manufacturer last September, having done so well with the bike, considering it is seven years old.
“There’s no logical sense to why I can’t buy bikes off Suzuki, it makes absolutely no sense. OK, I ran Suzuki and then decided not to run Suzuki for 2017. However, as a bike, the 2017 model is a very, very good piece of equipment and that was never in question before; I always knew it was going to be a good bike, I just didn’t want to work with Suzuki GB anymore.
“I like to do things my way and if I’m the one spending the bulk of the money, then I should be having the say. I think they forgot who’s team it was from time to time. If they want to fund the whole of the team’s budget, then that’s fine and people can be answerable to them but if they’re not, they have to succumb to the person who is paying the bill – which was me. It has already been good out of the box as a stock bike with Richard Cooper in the National Superstock 1000 Championship, so there’s no reason why it can’t be a really good and competitive Superbike”.
Have Suzuki messed this up? The Halsall Racing outfit is one of the most striking and well branded teams in the paddock, with a huge presence still existent from last year, ranging from merchandise to fans of Halsall’s operation of his team.
“People can see how I brand things. The thing about my businesses are that they are exceptionally branded. We’ve invested a lot of money into having proper marketing done and proper branding done to be professional with the business. I would do a good job with any branding. We’ve done it already with movuno.com, the online estate agents”. There’s no reason why we can’t follow that through to Superbikes and create an exceptionally well branded team with it”.
Have Suzuki no loyalty? Halsall dropped a proven race winner in the Kawasaki at the end of 2014 to pursue success with Suzuki – which he achieved. Now, despite persevering with a seven year old bike, the effervescent charismatic Lancastrian now finds himself banging his head against a brick wall.
“There is no reason why we as a team with the right rider can’t make the 2017 Suzuki work. We proved what we could do last year with two podiums on a bike that effectively, nobody else was interested in running. Primarily, I ran the bike with the bigger picture of picking up the new bike. So for me to walk away from Suzuki – after making massive investments for two years – hurts a bit”.
“Primarily, why can I not buy bikes? I can go and buy bikes tomorrow morning from any Suzuki dealer, without the Halsall Team name. We will be wanting some race parts from Yoshimura, from Suzuki and therefore, it makes sense to have a proper link with Suzuki – which I have tried to do on numerous occasions. I can’t see any logical sense at all in why I can’t buy bikes”.
“It’s good for Suzuki’s anyway if another team runs their brand. It is also healthy for a championship and the fans. ‘Why not bet on two horses’ comes to mind. I wouldn’t mind, it isn’t at Suzuki’s expense! It’s an absolute no-brainer. I think it is really unprofessional how a well-known brand is turning down such a well-known, successful and popular team with great presence in the paddock”.
Suzuki haven’t helped their image in this sorry saga. No WSBK effort and a difficult start to their 2017 MotoGP campaign, they’re relying mainly on BSB for their results – and that, as it stands, is risky business. Although risky business to them succeeds ‘no business’ with Martin.
“It’s had an effect on William Dunlop too. He wanted to ride the Suzuki at the TT but that isn’t possible. It is just crazy that they won’t give a top class road racer a bike that he demands. It has actually stopped the road racing side of Halsall Racing Team progressing on the roads because primarily, we’ve run out of time. Within the communication I’ve had with Suzuki, I made it clear that William Dunlop would ride the bike and that is what he wanted.
“At the end of the day, I own Halsall Racing. I am in charge. The people who I am trying to deal with aren’t representative of what Suzuki stand for. If i had the bikes in time for the TT, we could have got them prepared, potentially leading to a come back in BSB. If we got the right rider, there’s no reason we couldn’t run in BSB from 2017 and be successful”.
This is a developing story and you can find out exactly what the outcome of it will be when we hear news of it.
Story by @MotoGPKiko