Has Iannone given up on Suzuki?

MotoGP Suzuki newcomer Andrea Iannone has not been his usual self out on the track – has he given up on the project?

If only shifting teams were as easy as shifting gears. MotoGP is filled with examples of riders who find their groove within a team, only to transfer to another and suffer lackluster performances. Hell, one could argue that Ducati’s entire mantra revolves around being un-ridable to all but a select few. In the case of Andrea Iannone, however, the effect seems to be reversed.

Iannone, formerly a whiz-kid of Ducati, has severely struggled to make an impact on the 2017 season. The Italian rider has only managed to place in seventh as his highest in the season, and has retired from the three races thus far. Such a turn of events is unfortunate for the Italian, as his prowess behind the handlebars shouldn’t come into question–and yet here we are.

Many have already taken to calling Iannone out for his perceived lack of gusto in the season, saying that the 27-year-old rider needs to step his game up his game if he wants a future in the sport. An ironic thing to say, given how strong of a showing Iannone has put forth at Ducati over the past four years. The comments will always flow in from the sidelines, but it appears that Iannone has cultivated a more mature and zen appreciation for his job: He’ll go out, race, put in his best, but when the results are in, he’s done for the day.

The Italian has spoken in the past that he’s reflected greatly on what the sport means to him, and acknowledges that it is not the be-all end-all in life. Perhaps this aloofness is what is prompting riders like LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow to pitch in their two cents:

“I know the way [Iannone] rides, I was at Ducati and he was the best Ducati rider at the time.

He does some fantastic things, like the way he can overlay the throttle and the brake at the same time. But he is wasting his talent. He is just not bothered, absolutely not bothered.” – Cal Crutchlow

Crutchlow, ever the observant commentator, isn’t wrong. Iannone seems perfectly at peace with the way his season is unfolding. To brand him a laggard would be unfair, but the Italian rider does indeed seem to have a newfound air of calm around them. To any that believe the best course of action for a rider to take when results are low is to buck around like a feral bull – the lot of you need to sit down and have a word with yourselves.

It’s uncertain whether Iannone will have a future at Suzuki, but the relatively lackluster season for the team may have more to do with the bike than the ride. Of course, Iannone does run the risk of his nonchalant behavior coming off as disinterest to his new bosses – and that’s certainly a route he’ll want to avoid, zen or no zen.