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Team Suzuki Ecstar begin the new decade with their sights firmly set on the future, whilst also giving a nod to their illustrious racing past.
2020 marks Suzuki’s 60th year in racing, a milestone which will be celebrated with the team’s brand-new colour scheme. The elegant combination of the familiar blue mixed with a more traditional slate silver is sure to make the ambitious duo of Alex Rins and Joan Mir stand out from the pack.
This season’s GSX-RR will honour the rich racing pedigree which Suzuki began in 1960 with their participation in the Isle of Man’s Tourist Trophy - where just two years later Ernst Degner won the first GP race for Suzuki, and also their first World Championship Title in the 50cc category.
Since then, Suzuki as a manufacturer has celebrated a long list of successes including 14 more World Championship titles, right up until the most recent victories in 2019 with Alex Rins at the Grand Prix of The Americas and the British GP.
Aiming to tame the beast are Team Suzuki Ecstar’s industrious and impressive pairing of Rins and Mir. The young Spaniards enter the 2020 season following a successful and propitious 2019. Finishing 4th in last year’s championship standings, taking eleven Top 5 finishes, including two excellent victories, Alex Rins proved his place among the top riders in MotoGP™. He is ready to attack this brand-new season with force, aiming to build on his results and add more trophies to the cabinet.
Joan Mir completed a notable rookie season with Team Suzuki Ecstar in 2019, which included a total of 10 top 10 finishes, with a fifth-place finish in the Australian GP as his best result. He is confident about stepping up another level during 2020 following further familiarisation with the GSX-RR, and the inner workings of the elite class.
Shinichi Sahara - MotoGP Project Leader: “Last season gave us important information about our competitive level compared to other teams and also contributed to the growth of the MotoGP project, in terms of technical package of the GSX-RR, work methodology within the Team and - last but not least - experience and solidness of Rins and Mir. We had some positive results and also two outstanding victories, which is positive, but also got a clear feeling that our potential can be even better exploited. This is the spirit with which we head into the 2020 season, carrying 60 years of experiences in racing to try our best to even better results. Since our comeback in 2015 we have done small but steady steps that led us into the top of the competition, having more than one rider get Suzuki podiums and wins. We are now called to further improved this competitiveness and make a further step, being able to fight consistently into the podium positions.”
Ken Kawauchi - Technical Manager: “The heritage that we carry on our fairing this year represents a long history of racing, that includes many successes. This gives us a further push to carry on improving. Since the very beginning, the DNA of Suzuki has been to develop a good starting package and then build on it with small but steady technical steps. This strategy has paid off in the last few years with podiums and victories in the MotoGP modern era, and I believe that it can work in the future as well. We have already developed a new engine spec which was appreciated by our Test Rider Guintoli, and our Factory riders Rins and Mir at the Valencia and Jerez Tests. So this is likely to be the base from where we will start testing in Sepang and Qatar before the beginning of the season. During the winter we have worked to develop new solutions for the chassis and set up, as well as the electronics. The fairings will play an important role as well, and we are going to test some solutions that hopefully can help to improve the overall performance.”
Davide Brivio - Team Manager: “The 2019 season was important for us because we showed consistent progress throughout the whole year, and I believe this is the right path to success. Alex got two wins which was our target before the season and then another podium. We learnt a lot and it was another important step for Alex and for the Team. We are also very happy with Joan because he showed steady progress and overcame the significant injury he got in Brno to end the season with some very solid races. Not only the results have been outstanding, but also the whole approach to the race weekend and the working methodology. On both sideswe can take good lessons from 2019 into 2020. Of course this will be a special year for Suzuki as it’s the 60th year in racing, so we feel even more motivated to do well in front of all our Company and our fans. Our Engineers in Japan have worked on several items and small details, other than engine, during the winter trying to improve our good package. The riders are ready and excited, so I believe we have to set our target to improve again and again the performance of the team with both riders.”
Alex Rins: “Last season brought me one of the most exciting feelings on earth which was to win my first MotoGP race. It was a dream come true, and the second victory felt amazing too. I will bring those emotions with me into 2020, as well as the awareness of the growth that I’ve made. One of the most important lessons I’ve learnt is how to better manage a race, especially when I’m leading or fighting. I will carry the special livery for the 60 years in racing and this makes me proud. One of the best things about being with Suzuki is that I feel a real family atmosphere, I don’t know if it was also like that in the past, but to me it feels like something they have in the Suzuki DNA, together with constantly striving to win, and I think this really makes a difference. Now in 2020 we have to stay focused and get good results, more podiums for sure and hopefully also more wins. This is the path to success, I believe: little by little, step by step, with hard work all together.”
Joan Mir: “For sure my expectations for 2020 are much higher than last year, because I’m not a rookie anymore. We ended last season on a good path, with consistent improvements that helped me to overcome the difficulties that came from the crash in Brno and led me to have some very positive races at the end of the season. The first year has been a learning one, the MotoGP machine is such a beast that you have to learn how to control it, and I had huge support from all of my team. Now I want to build on my experience and start placing my name among the top riders. I have trained very well during winter, I have focused on physical preparation and also on smoothness in riding, which is one thing that my GSX-RR requires, I think. Beside this, I’m really eager to get on my MotoGP machine again in Sepang and start to improve further. It’s going to be an important year for Suzuki and the blue-silver livery looks amazing on my GSX-RR, I’m proud to be part of this historic year and carry such racing heritage on my fairing.”