Following a new sport and choosing who to root for is one of the most important decisions one makes in their adult life — if they don’t have kids, anyway. 2020 was the year I really got into watching MotoGP, and I allied myself with the Suzuki club for the same reason any new fan chooses a team: I liked their colors and they didn’t suck.
Fast forward to now two years later where I’m walking all over Circuit of the Americas during MotoGP weekend, finding my favorite sight lines, watching the paddock and doing my best to stay hydrated. I also figure I’m in a good spot to pick up a cap or maybe a t-shirt to support my favorite team — a team whose rider won the 2020 title, by the way. And it doesn’t exist.
I could blindfold myself and walk into a VR46 stand — and that’s saying a lot because COTA is fucking huge. Now, of course I love Valentino as so many of us do. The guy’s personality is infectious and I was sad when he retired. But he doesn’t even work here anymore. Elsewhere, Honda and Ducati unsurprisingly have a big presence. Yamaha, KTM and Aprilia less so, though those tents exist if you know where to look.
Yet Suzuki apparel is nowhere to be found, and god help you if you’ve taken a shine to one of the independent teams like Gresini or LCR. I don’t normally plead with brands to get them to recognize all the money they’re leaving on the table, but I feel a duty to here, for myself and my fellow MotoGP converts who want to fly their favorite colors. Lest you think I’m the only one whining about this, I promise other merch-less Suzuki supporters and COTA attendees have been similarly flummoxed.
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Strangely there is a big Suzuki tent in the infield, between turns 5 and 13. I spotted this from COTA’s famous observation deck, which I internally nicknamed “space penis” all weekend long. Like seeing a mirage under the Texas sun, I thought my prayers had been answered. But when I made it to the tent, there were only motorcycles to demo and a single hat with the Hayabusa logo on it that may not have even been for sale. Nothing representing the team, nothing with Joan Mir’s nor Alex Rins’ names on it.
It gets worse! Search for Suzuki team merch right now — go ahead. I’ll wait. Tell me what you find. Not much, right? Suzuki’s official merch shop has goods with the GSX-RR logo, a subtle nod to the MotoGP bike. But none of what’s there outwardly acknowledges the MotoGP team or its riders save for one tee with a Mir illustration on the back. All of it also appears to be two years old, which is lame but at least makes it cheap, if nothing else.
“What about the MotoGP store?” you may be thinking. Great idea! Try again.
It’s so odd to me. In Suzuki is a squad that’s currently looking solid, with a recent title under its belt. You’d think that there would be loads of people begging to give it money for the privilege of being walking billboards, and you’d think Suzuki would be all too happy to oblige them. And yet, here we are. Just please get it together, blue team. Until you do, I guess I’ll drown in Rossi merch.