How important is Alex’s victory for him and team?
Davide Brivio: “For Alex it was something very important. He started the year very strong and then he had an injury, and in the last two or three months he’s had to focus on making a full recovery. But despite that, he got very close to winning a few times. The podium in Barcelona was nice, but the victory was something really special for him, especially in Aragon. We were very happy for him. Now that Alex has won a race, it gives Joan even more incentive to try and win. This type of friendly competition is something we try to nurture - each rider pushing each other into better results."
It’s quite a strange season so far, and this year has been a challenge for everyone, but Suzuki and Joan Mir are leading the championship and going strong. What are your feelings about all this?
DB: “We didn’t really expect to be in this position; leading the championship. It’s not only a strange season but a strange year in general and we have seen the situation changing race by race with a lot of competitive riders. When you consider that in the opening round we had a double DNF - both Alex and Joan didn’t finish the first race - and since then we have improved our performance and here we are now, Alex has won a race and Joan is leading the championship. So it’s a great moment for us and we just want to keep going in these next four races. We’ll play all our cards until the end.”
In the 10 races so far there have been 8 different winners and changes in the podium every weekend, it seems like a season of survival and consistency rather than a season of winning and winning. How do you see it?
DB: “Of course, consistency is always the first thing you need. And that’s something Joan Mir has managed really well - in the last five or six races he’s probably the rider that has scored the most points. He has five podiums so far and that’s why we’re leading the championship now. This is what we have to try to do, to continue to stay on the podium as much as we can and score as many points as possible. This is the key.”
Suzuki is now one of the biggest factories in the championship, and despite not having a satellite team we are able to fight for the crown. What is Suzuki’s secret?
DB: “Suzuki is a big company, but the racing operation is relatively small compared to other manufacturers. But we have clever engineers and very dedicated people. We can see that the effort from everyone is paying off. The main important base of the bike has been expertly created by the engineers in Japan, and then the team that we’ve put together are all very good and together we squeeze all the potential out of the bike. We also have two fantastic riders with great talent, and this was always the idea; to bring on two talented riders to the point where they’re able to fight for top positions. We’re thinking not only about the next races, but also the coming years, always ready to push for more.”
Here we are now, Alex has won a race and Joan is leading the championship. It’s a great moment for us and we just want to keep going in these next four races. We’ll play all our cards until the end.
Some people in the paddock were critical of the factory signing two very young riders. But now you’ve proven it was the right strategy for Suzuki with two potential title winners, what would you say to them?
DB: “This has been our philosophy from the beginning, and Suzuki Motor Corporation has always liked the idea of bringing up young riders and creating long term trust and loyalty. This strategy is paying off. We felt that a new generation was coming, with many top riders reaching the end of their careers, so rather than try to sign a rider with only a few years left before retirement, we wanted to create the new top riders. It’s something that’s not easy, but we’ve been very lucky to find Alex and Joan, we have a great atmosphere in the team. Our focus has always been on drawing out the potential of the riders, by providing them with a good package with which they can express their talent.”
So far the GSX-RR has proven to be good at almost every track this year, so how would you rate the bike’s performance?
DB: “So far we’ve visited seven circuits, and apart from Le Mans where we were struggling, we’ve been able to show our capabilities and prove that our bike is a great and competitive package. In Jerez it was hard to say because we had two DNFs but we were nevertheless competitive. Since then the riders have performed very well and that’s thanks to the bike as well as the riders. We hope that this will be the case for the next two tracks we’ll visit in Valencia and Portimão.”
Joan is leading the championship and he has stated that he will try to defend the position, do you think is the correct strategy; step by step and grounded, or should be be allowing ourselves to dream?
DB: “We’re getting close to the end of the season but so far we’ve never really thought about the championship. Joan’s target is first of all to win a race, and that’s also our goal; to get that first victory for Joan in MotoGP. So that’s our main focus, along with getting on the podium as often as possible.”
What’s the feedback from Hamamatsu in this special year when Suzuki are celebrating their 100th anniversary and 60 years in racing?
DB: “We’re getting a lot of support and we’re keeping in touch with them via text messaging and calls, and it’s great to have this positive feedback from them. I hope we can finish the season well for them, and so far so good. We’re glad to give everyone a reason to celebrate this year.”
Suzuki Motor Corp. has always liked the idea of bringing up young riders and creating long term trust and loyalty. We’ve been very lucky to find Alex and Joan, we have a great atmosphere in the team.