It was 27 March when we met Michael Bartholemy who gave us a long and exclusive interview. The Marc VDS team manager's mind was already on the Termas de Rio Hondo round but at the same time he was evaluating his next moves, with regard to the coming years.
He had three proposals on the table, or rather Honda, Yamaha and Suzuki. Michel wanted to have made a decision regarding the 2019-2021 period before the Jerez race, offering Franco Morbidelli a factory bike as of next season. The Austin weekend was looking to be a significant one then, though it appears the decision is as good as made.
According to Speedweek, Marc VDS has already decided to take to the track with Suzuki next year. The Hamamatsu manufacturer will field four bikes, two of which look like being entrusted to the team of Count Marc Van Der Straten.
At first, the squad had evaluated the possibility of staying with Honda, but it appears the conditions were not there. The first sticking point was having lost a rider of the caliber of Jack Miller, who moved to Ducati Pramac without the Japanese manufacturer batting an eyelid. As if that weren't enough, HRC decided that it wouldn't give the satellite team any updates in terms of the engines and this left the team with doubts, causing them to evaluate the concrete possibility of moving across to Yamaha or Suzuki.
The Iwata manufacturer's proposal was the worst of those on the table, while the Suzuki offers appears to have convinced Marc VDS to select the GSX-RR up until 2021. Already over the Rio Hondo weekend, two members of Suzuki staff were present inside the Belgian team's garage, namely Diego Gubellini and Gilles Bigot, who are enthusiastically starting to organise the future work from a technical standpoint.
All that remains now is official confirmation of the agreement between Marc VDS and Suzuki, one that may well come this weekend or at Jerez, as Bartholemy told us in March. In the meantime, Suzuki and Rins are ready to continue with their adventure. In all likelihood, the Spaniard's contract renewal will be confirmed in Texas, while doubts remain as to Andrea Iannone's future.