WORLD MXGP


Team Suzuki Ecstar Official Team Launch - March 6th, Losail, Qatar

2021 Suzuki Ecstar launch-GSX-RR-7


Livestream Video: CLICK HERE TO VIEW

Image Gallery Link: CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS

Joan Mir Rider Profile: CLICK HERE

Alex Rins Rider Profile: CLICK HERE

Shinichi Saraha Blog: CLICK HERE TO READ

Joan Mir Blog: CLICK HERE TO READ

Alex Rins Blog: CLICK HERE TO READ



SUZUKI’S 2021 MOTOGP LINE-UP AND LIVERY UNVEILED

Team Suzuki Press Office – March 6.

Suzuki Motor Corporation has officially launched its 2021 FIM MotoGP™ World Championship campaign with the unveiling of the team line-up and livery.

Since 2019 the rider combination has remained the same, with 2020 World Champion Joan Mir and Alex Rins. The Spanish pairing have a wealth of experience on Team Suzuki Ecstar’s GSX-RR machinery, and both have proven to be top contenders. Mir ended the 2020 season sensationally as World Champion after a string of impressive performances, while Rins finished close behind in third place overall after fighting back during a season marred by injury.

Team Suzuki Ecstar will run the GSX-RR in its latest livery, which includes new sponsorship from global drinks giant Monster Energy. The machine has developed and become stronger in recent years due to the hard work and expertise behind the scenes at Suzuki Motor Corporation in Japan and, despite a development freeze for all manufacturers in 2021, Team Suzuki Ecstar are confident in the bike and its ability to perform and also be improved upon. The aim will be to build on the success achieved in 2020, where Team Suzuki Ecstar also clinched the ‘MotoGP Team Championship’ title, with sights focused on the podium places and defending the title this year.

The 2021 season marks Suzuki’s seventh season back in the FIM’s premier championship, MotoGP™, and an action-packed 19-round provisional calendar has been released.

Starting with the first round in Qatar on March the 28th and ending with the season finale in Valencia, Spain on November the 14th, taking in 13 countries, including a new stop in KymiRing in Finland.

Shinichi Sahara - Project Leader and Team Director:

“The 2020 was a fantastic season for us, as winning World title for the rider and the Team. This 2021 season will be a challenging one for us, as we are aiming to achieve even better result than last year, but I’m confident that we will be able to take on this important role and fight to get great results. Due to the Covid restrictions it is going to be another very strange season, and the freezing of the engine development leaves us with fewer areas to adjust and work on, so the level of competition will be just as high as last year. For sure we are facing a new era in our team, with the new organisation that we had to put in place: so I will be more present at the races, and I will be supported by all the team members in their respective responsibilities. We have grown a mature and solid team so I am fully confident that together we will find the best way to be efficient and effective. Both Joan Mir and Alex Rins have done a lot of winter preparation, they have arrived motivated and determined ahead of this new season, so we will give our 100% to provide them with the best conditions and tools to perform well and fight for top positions.”

Joan Mir:

“This new season seems like it will be a thrilling one with a lot of quick contenders. Despite winning last year I don’t consider myself as the ‘favourite’ for this season, because I believe that there is still a lot of work to do and big results to achieve. But nevertheless, I come into 2021 as ‘the man to beat’, and for sure there is some pressure surrounding that. Honestly I don’t mind it - I see it as a positive thing because pressure has always given me an extra push rather than holding me back. Again it is going to be a strange season with this Covid pandemic and all the travel restrictions, but I do hope that things will go better and better not only for us, the MotoGP family, but also for all our fans around the world. I left my GSX-RR last year with very good feelings, the limitations on the development prevented big steps of improvement, but I’m confident that the R&D department in Suzuki and our track engineers and mechanics have found some steps to improve.”

Alex Rins:

“All winter I’ve been looking forward to getting back on track! I have done a lot of training, especially with my track bike, but nothing actually beats riding my GSX-RR. I think this year could be a great one for us, we have a strong team and a strong bike. We’re more motivated than ever, and we know that our bike is able to win so we’re ready to fight. The calendar is quite full, despite everything, and there are many fast riders, so building a consistent campaign will be the key as always.”




JOAN MIR
Mir-temp


BIO:
Place of Birth: Palma de Mallorca
Date of Birth: 01 September 1997
Weight: 69 kg
Height: 181 cm

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS:
Race Wins: 12
Podiums: 27
Pole Positions: 2
Fastest Laps: 6
World Championship Wins: 2

PERSONAL HIGHLIGHTS:
Hobbies: Ski, Skimo, Cycling.
Likes: Racing cars and sailing.
Dislikes: Losing time or doing nothing.
Favourite Movie: Gladiator.
Favourite Food: Japanese food.
Favourite Circuit: Phillip Island

SOCIAL PROFILES:
Website: https://www.joanmir36.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/joanmirmotogp
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/joanmir36official
Twitter: https://twitter.com/joanmirofficial

CAREER:
Joan Mir Mayrata (Palma de Mallorca, 1997) has not had the archetypal career path into MotoGP. In fact, his beginnings in motorcycling came much later than that of his rivals in the road racing championships. His first motorcycle was a Polini when he was 6 years old, until he received a small Honda QR as a gift one year later. But unusually, his family didn’t have an excessive fervour for bikes - everyone around him was more into off-road riding than on track, and most were enthusiastic about other sports. His father Joan, in fact, owns a skating shop in Mallorca, so little Joan grew up surrounded by skateboard decks.
It was not until he saw his cousin Joan Perelló, who was in the Stop & Go team in the World Championship, that he became fascinated with speed. An admirer of his countryman Rafael Nadal, Joan admitted in an interview that "like Rossi, I do not look up to anyone". And yet, paradoxically, his first experience of racing at the track arrived at Chicho Lorenzo’s school, where he remained for a year. From there he moved to the Balearic Motorcycling Federation’s school in 2009. There someone discovered that Joan had more to offer than just his enthusiastic smile. It’s also where he met Daniel Vadillo, who advises him and has accompanied him to each race since then. "We saw that he had something different," recalls Dani.

EARLY VICTORIES:
He then started the adventure of the Bankia Cup in the XL 160 category, in 2011. The Mallorcan won the crown with two races left before the championship came to a permanent close. Then came the MotoGP PreGP 125 Cup, the next step in the arduous climb to the World Championship, and Joan did not hold back, securing another title. In 2012, Joan headed to the Red Bull Rookies Cup where he completed two seasons; 2013-2014. During the first year of adaptation, the Balearic rider finished 9th in the general standings while in the second year he finished runner-up after a very close battle with Spaniard Jorge Martín.

FIGHTING FOR AN OPPORTUNITY:
A somewhat turbulent 2015 arrived, in which some challenging circumstances arose. Joan, already prepared to start his career in the FIM CEV Championship, was left out because the Leopard Racing team cancelled the project at the last moment. Joan and his entourage got in touch with rider manager Paco Sánchez, and he helped the youngster to complete the CEV championship with a Ioda bike in the Team Machado but finally supported by Leopard Racing team. Then, just as the season was reaching its end and Joan was on vacation, he received a call from Leopard Racing team again, they wanted him to replace Japan’s Hiroki Ono, injured, at the Australian Grand Prix. A wild card appearance that was worth its weight in gold. After a low key debut Joan, who was 15th on the grid at Phillip Island, got a rocket start and placed himself in the lead group, but crashed out whilst in 4th. He had nevertheless left his mark.
Leopard recognised his achievement and recruited him for the 2016 season.

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP SPOT AND TITLE:
And so it was that the World Championship officially welcomed Joan Mir in 2016. And he quickly proved his worth; in Austria Joan surprised everyone with a superb race that gave him his first victory and his debut podium in the category. He finished the championship in fifth position, as Rookie of the Year, after getting three podiums, one pole, and two fastest laps. It turned out to be the perfect warm up for the 2017 season - 10 wins, 13 podiums, and a dominant title campaign. His strength and talent were clear and the Mallorcan won the Moto3 crown. An ideal way to graduate to Moto2…

MOTO 2:
He entered Moto2 with Team EG 0,0 Marc VDS. Adapting quickly, Joan seemed competitive from the beginning and onlookers sensed a podium was coming. He did indeed secure his first Moto2 podium in France, and soon after in Italy. However, his promising start fizzled out a little for various reasons. All in all, Joan finished the season in 6th position and was awarded as Rookie of the Year just one day before testing in Valencia - his first experience riding the GSX-RR with the Team SUZUKI ECSTAR.

MOTOGP CLIMB:
Joan’s debut season in MotoGP in 2019 saw him adapting quickly to the Suzuki way of working, and he said his introduction to the team was like “finding a second family”. At his first race, in Qatar, he achieved a great 8th place. He went on to score a further nine Top 10 finishes, despite a debilitating mid-season injury which saw him miss two rounds. Joan returned to secure his best result, an impressive 5th place, in Thailand, he then backed this up with two further 5th place finishes in the last two races of the season in Malaysia and Spain. He completed his rookie season 12th in the Championship standings. With his focus on adjusting his riding style to better suit the GSX-RR’s own strengths, the youngster was ambitious and aiming high for the 2020 season.

100 YEARS CHAMPION:
In a unique and strange season deeply marked by the threat of Covid-19, Team Suzuki Ecstar and Joan Mir kept their focus on racing. 2020 also marked Suzuki’s 100th anniversary and 60 years in competition. Despite the season getting off to a tricky start with a couple of DNFs, Joan bounced back quickly and continued to learn the traits of his GSX-RR with maturity and determination. A 2nd place finish at the fourth round in Austria set the tone for the remainder of the season, and before long the young rider from Mallorca found himself in title contention. A string of solid results culminated in a superb win at the European GP in Valencia and just one week later, at the same circuit, Joan took his first MotoGP crown in style, Becoming Suzuki’s first champion for 20 years.


ALEX RINS

Rins-temp


BIO:
Place of Birth: Barcelona
Date of Birth: 08 December 1995
Weight: 72 kg
Height: 176 cm

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS:
Race Wins: 15
Podiums: 52
Pole Positions: 17
Fastest Laps: 16

PERSONAL HIGHLIGHTS:
Hobbies: Rollerblading, Skimo, Cycling.
Likes: Rallying and GT Championships.
Dislikes: Doing nothing.
Favourite Movie: Creed.
Favourite Food: Pizza & pasta.
Favourite Circuit: Phillip Island / Misano / Motorland Aragon

SOCIAL PROFILES:
Website: www.alexrins.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alexrins
Instagram: www.instagram.com/alexrins
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Rins42

CAREER:
Álex Rins was born on December 8th, 1995 in Barcelona, Spain to Rafael and Victoria. His first contact with the world of motorsport occurred very early in his life, as is so often the case with riders in World Championship racing! The first time he had a go on a motorised machine, Álex was only three. It was in 1998, when he was able to ride a quad that he had been given as a present. It was only his first try, but it would leave a significant and permanent mark on him.
Three years later, in 2001, a couple of friends of his father, Rafa, encouraged him to put Álex on a motorcycle just as a test. Rafa put his son on a Lem when he was four, and it seems that experience changed the rest of his life. It was enough to make him finally park the quad and start to dream of owning his own bike. Because of his insistence, Rins fulfilled his dream two years later and his parents ended up buying him a 50cc KTM motocross bike. On the Constantí circuit he nurtured his passion and began to train with his motorcycle. The following year, in 2003, thanks in great part to Montse Costa, he was able to participate in the Catalan and Aragonese Championships, obtaining a victory in the latter.

FROM REGIONAL TO NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS:
His true love for circuit racing began in 2005, when Álex debuted in this discipline competing in the last three events of the Promo 50cc calendar. Two years later Álex rounded off a masterful season by winning the Catalan 80cc Championship, the 70cc Promo, the Mediterranean 80cc Championship, and the 12 hours of Vic Endurance. Fast forward to 2008 - a year of discovery for Rins. After an excellent season in the Championship of Cataluña and in the Mediterranean in Pre125GP, someone important became aware of his talent…
Emilio Alzamora, former 125cc World Champion, fortuitously met Álex at the Almeria circuit and offered him his first ever contract, to enroll in the structure of the Monlau School. At the age of 14, he entered the Spanish Speed Championship (CEV) and during his first race he impressed everyone. In 2010 Álex defeated more mature riders like Maverick Viñales and Miguel Oliveira, and achieved his first victory. He would go on to close the season with a fantastic third place. Álex Rins developed a reputation for being able to fight for victory in every race. His burgeoning talent secured sponsorship from a real giant; Repsol, who chose to gamble on him for even greater challenges.
Expectations grew and the pressure to win increased considerably during the Spanish Championship (CEV) of 2011. Nevertheless, Álex knew how to control it, he rose to the occasion, and was crowned Champion with two victories and three podiums places in seven races. In addition, he completed an incredible season by becoming European runner-up, surpassed only by Italy’s Romano Fenati.
When he was just 16 years old, he already held the Spanish title and was a European runner-up, and in 2012 an opportunity in the Moto3 World Championship became available to him. With the support of Repsol and Estrella Galicia, Álex made the leap to Moto3 riding a Honda bike. Two races were enough to get his first Pole Position in Jerez, and only four to get his first win at Le Mans, where he proved that people who had bet on him had not been wrong. With a slightly inferior motorcycle and on circuits that he did not know, he demonstrated his greatness in races. All the effort and hard work from the team led him to get 141 points in the World Championship. He earned the well-deserved 2012 Rookie of the Year title in Moto3 and finished fifth in the final standings.

ARRIVAL IN THE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP:
A few months later, in 2013, the Barcelona rider began to truly dedicate himself to the sport. With a more competitive bike and the experience of a year in the World Championships behind him, he only had to concentrate on the task at hand; fighting for the title until the very last race in the tightest finish in the history of the championship. Álex visited the podium in almost all the races, obtained six victories and eight pole positions. Everything was at stake with Luis Salom and Maverick Viñales and it was the latter who finally tasted glory in Valencia. But seldom has a young man achieved what Álex Rins had in just his second year within the World Championship. He had six victories and got pole position eight times.
In 2014 he left his reliable KTM and opted for the brand new Honda, a big question mark. At the conclusion of the season he secured third position in the final standings. Shortly thereafter it became public that during the 2015 season he would make the jump to Moto 2 with the Páginas Amarillas HP40 Team, managed by former 250cc World Champion Sito Pons. The year ended with the balance sheet at two wins and six podiums.

GROWING UP:
In Moto2 he didn’t let anyone down. In his first year, Álex was more than successful, closing the season with the runner-up title and again receiving the Rookie of the Year title. His performances improved race by race and he finished the year with a total of ten podiums, five second places, and two victories in Australia and Indianapolis, plus three poles in his first season in Moto2.
A year later all eyes were focused on Álex and Johann Zarco, the reigning World Champion. Until the middle of the season he was fighting for the title with the French rider but several inopportune falls and a shoulder injury drastically reduced his chances to fight for the crown. He concluded the season with third position and a total of seven podiums, with two victories and one pole position.

REIGNING CLASS:
2017 marked his debut in the MotoGP class, joining as a Factory Rider with Team SUZUKI ECSTAR. It turned out to be a baptism of fire for the Spaniard, who was hit by injuries in the pre-season test, in winter training, and – most costly of all – in Friday Free Practice in Texas, where he broke his right wrist. His recovery took 5 races, and when he finally got back on his GSX-RR in Assen he had to re-start his whole approach to MotoGP. His growth since that moment was consistent and fast, allowing him to be fully prepared for a much happier 2018 season.
The 2018 season, Álex’s second in MotoGP, was much smoother sailing with fewer injuries and a much more competitive GSX-RR. Rins started with a bang in Argentina, taking his first MotoGP podium (3rd place). This led him to an outstanding second half of the season with three 2nd places (Netherlands, Malaysia and Valencia) and one 3rd place in Japan - an especially important podium in front of Suzuki Motor Corporation’s President Mr. Toshihiro Suzuki. He closed the year in a great 5th place in the standings.

MAKING HIS MARK:
Last season Álex was finally able to confirm his place among the true front runners in the Championship, even leading the way early in the year. After scoring 4th and 5th in the first two races of the season, Álex took a superb victory at the Circuit of the Americas, backing it up with a 2nd place in Spain three weeks later. His own confidence, coupled with the increased competitiveness of the 2019 GSX-RR, allowed him to achieve a strong season - marred only by a couple of crashes mid-way through the Championship. Álex scored eleven Top 5 finishes, and a second stunning win in Great Britain cemented his and Suzuki’s status as true contenders. His consistent year saw him end 2019 with a very respectable 4th place in the rankings. Rins enters 2020, his fourth season with Suzuki, with more determination and self-belief than ever, ready to fight for the top positions at every race.

BATTLING BACK:
The tough 2020 season wasn’t not only marred by Covid-19 but also by injury for Álex Rins. A nasty shoulder injury was sustained by the rider in qualifying for the opening round and it would continue to cost him as he underwent a lengthy recovery and suffered with pain. However, by the San Marino GP he was already gaining ground as he placed 5th in the race. He continued to show great strength and perseverance and climbed onto the podium at the Catalan GP in the season’s midpoint. A superb win in Aragon put him into title contention with his team-mate, Joan Mir, and he took a further two podiums in his quest for a top finish. Despite a difficult season closer, Álex took a brilliant 3rd in the championship standings, helping Team Suzuki Ecstar to achieve the Team’s Championship.


Q&A WITH SHINICHI SAHARA



2021 Suzuki Ecstar Launch - Shinichi Sahara-2


Sahara-san how has your winter break been?

SS: “Things have been busy preparing everything; the bikes, the parts, getting it all ready. We’ve been working very long hours in Japan and it’s been a tiring but exciting time. It’s always hard work at the beginning of the season, but it’s worth it when you see the results.”

During the winter there was the big news that Davide Brivio was leaving, how do you see that?

SS: “It was a bit of a shock for all of us, and it’s a pity to see him go. But we wish him success in his new career and we’re already focused on what we need to do now.”

Can you explain your new management plan?

SS: “It is more open between all of us; every team management related matter will be discussed between key people in the team. We have created a ‘Team Management Committee’ involving key team members and we will all discuss everything - item by item and session by session. We will exchange information between us. So this is the way we’ve decided to go forward in the running of the team since Davide’s departure. I believe this will more than compensate for his loss.”

What was behind the decision not to bring one Team Manager in?

SS: “Even last year when Davide was the Manager, a lot of decisions were taken jointly. For example, I am the Project Leader and Ken Kawauchi is the Technical Manager, and we would discuss everything with Davide and even with the wider team. Advice and knowledge was shared among us. I know how he balanced between the human side and technical side, so I have no concerns about our new way of managing. Everybody on our team is great at their job, so we will manage fine. I have every confidence in our decision and in many ways it has brought our team closer together.”

Suzuki will stand out this year as title holders, how will this affect your approach?

SS: “It doesn’t really make a difference because our aim is actually the same as always; becoming one step stronger. So winning the championship hasn’t changed that. We don’t even think of ourselves as defending champion; we just focus on challenging for the best results and giving our all every weekend.”

Do you feel pressure to try and repeat the championship in 2021? Especially as there was a big gap of 20 years before Joan Mir’s title.

SS: “I don’t think there is extra pressure, but it’s very important to us to show that we can always be competitive. Winning the title is the ultimate success, but in the end our target doesn’t change; we always want to win races. Every piece of success is celebrated, and we know Joan and Alex can give us great results, but of course we want to build another title campaign with our riders. We’ll give everything, but we won’t worry about pressure.”

What do you think about the freeze on development?


SS: “Our main focus and priority has always been to have a very balanced bike. We’ve never liked to concentrate too much on one area and lose that baseline balance. We’ve always been about small tweaks and improvements and keeping the fundamental performance and base of the bike. There’s always room for improvement and we will keep working, but not being able to develop the engine doesn’t worry us because it’s the same for all the teams, and we had great results last year with our GSX-RR.”

What will be your approach when working on the 2021 GSX-RR?

SS: “It will be the same as always, which is little by little. As I said before, we always search for small improvements which have a big impact. This is our favoured way of working, just to adjust things here and there to build an overall better package.”

How much impact do the test riders have?

SS: “Sylvain plays a crucial role in our team, he helps us a lot with development and direction. He is a very intelligent person and a skilled rider - his lap times are close to those of the full time MotoGP riders - so he always gives us a lot of information. He is very accurate and very intuitive. We also have a Test Rider in Japan, Takuya Tsuda, and he also plays a very important role. We hope this year both riders can have more bike time, because last year it was limited due to Covid-19.”

Does the current situation mean the plan for a Suzuki satellite team put on hold?

SS: “Yes, in some ways it does because Davide was the one to speak to several teams and start the ball rolling. But I was also involved in this process, and speaking with top management, so it simply means a bit more work for me now that he’s gone. I’m continuing to think about it and work on it, so it’s still something we’re planning to do, but I can’t put a date on it yet.”

What allowed Suzuki to take the title in 2020? Was it down to the bike, the rider, or a combination?

SS: “It would be nice to say that our bike is the best bike! But that’s something hard to say. Anyway, we’ve worked hard over the years to make the most stable and balanced bike we can, which has many different strengths. However, rider skill and ability always makes a big difference too. Joan was only in his second year with us last year, but he learned very quickly and proved his maturity, it was a very hard year but he managed it all very well. The same with Alex, he is a great rider and he was able to bring us top results too, despite his injury. But we never settle, both the bike and the riders must always improve.”

Suzuki is the only team with same line-up in 2021 as in 2020, will this be an advantage?

SS: “As I said, both our riders are very strong contenders, and it’s nice to keep the stability of having the same structure and the same team. Both are gaining more and more experience with our GSX-RR, so I think it’s great to continue on with Joan and Alex.”

With these two strong riders, how do you plan to manage the rivalry between them?

SS: “At Suzuki we’ve always had a philosophy where we don’t have a “number one” and “number two” rider, we don’t have a lead rider. Even when we’ve had rookies in the team we treat them in the same way as the more experienced rider. Last year Joan and Alex had a very good rivalry, it was very respectful and at the same time they pushed each other to achieve better results. We want to encourage this spirit and atmosphere again in 2021.”

What do you think about Joan Mir’s decision to keep his number 36 and not run number 1?

SS: “For me I was just happy to see the number one on the bike in Valencia! It’s something very significant and it was fantastic, but his decision to continue with his usual number is obviously fine with me, it’s his choice. But it would also be nice to get another number one plate, even briefly, again this year!”

Last year everybody was quite separate due to the Covid-19 crisis, how did this impact the relationship between the workers in Japan and those at the circuit?

SS: “Sometimes it was hard but one of the nicest things about winning the championship was actually the way in which we all celebrated, despite restrictions. For example, I was in Japan when Joan got the crown, but everybody in Hamamatsu was so happy and overwhelmed and it was nice to share those moments! More and more gifts and congratulations messages were arriving at the office every day. Everyone from every department - including the automobile side and the marine side - was celebrating because it was a very big thing for all of us at Suzuki."


Q&A WITH JOAN MIR

Joan Mir-2021 MotoGP page


QUESTION: How does 2021 look after the long winter break?

JOAN MIR: Well, I guess it’s been good for us. I have tried to prepare myself even better than last year. Physically I am feeling very well, I have had time to rest and to train. I am enjoying this moment a lot because I really like the pre-season time and pushing to be as prepared as possible. But I'm also really looking forward to starting, with new motivations like trying to fight for the title again and trying to ride as well as last year.

Q: The beginning of the season has been quite strange for the team when everybody learned that Davide Brivio was leaving, so how did you receive the news?

JM: I found out by phone, but I was on vacation and I thought it was a joke! The truth is that I wish Davide the best because I have a very special affection for him. But I'm not worried about his leaving because I fully trust the team. I know that everyone who is part of it is very capable and we won’t feel his absence.

Q: How do you think this change might affect the team?

JM: I don't know. I want to think that it will not affect anything because within the team there are very professional people. Also, Suzuki's top management are really bright people, so I am feeling very calm.

Q: Does the winter break have a different feel when you’re champion?

JM: Yes, 100%, because you feel great satisfaction for a job well done. But of course, this year will be more difficult. Last year the pressure was focused on progressing as a rider and consolidating my performances in MotoGP, but this year it has changed. Now I have to be in front and try to defend the title, fight for it, from the beginning. Now the target is podiums every race, or at least battling for them. Whereas, last year at this point, it was enough for us to be aiming for Top-5 finishes.

Q: How have you spent your time in the last two months?

JM: I have invested time in myself, spending time with my girlfriend, with my family. During the season, all of us who work in this world know, we have very little time to be at home, so being with my loved ones is very much appreciated. I also had to force myself to take a short vacation because I was too motivated to train all the time! I have also invested time in improving my skills as a rider, of course.

Q: What has been your favourite type of training?

JM: I don't like repeating workouts, I like to vary it. So I have several things I really like to do. I do a lot of aerobics sessions like mountain skiing, which is what I enjoy the most. The gym is not my passion, even though I have to do it, so we can remove that from the favourites (laughs). And then there is the bike training…and for that the discipline I like the most is motocross.

Q: The feeling after getting the crown is an intense one, did it leave you drained or does it give you a real boost?

JM: Definitely not drained, on the contrary, it has given me more energy. But as I mentioned before, I did have to have a vacation and just get away from motorcycles and routines and everything that goes along with it. It was the only way to rest. A lot of the people around me were feeling quite sick and drained after we finished the championship, I think because of all the hustle and bustle and stress, but luckily I felt good.

Q: With time to analyse what happened in 2020, what have you learned?

JM: I prefer not to spend so much time thinking about the title, and I'm already focused on this year and the next goal. I am very happy, very satisfied with the work done, and I have achieved one of my absolute dreams. But my wish is to keep looking forward and win more in MotoGP. I have not really stopped to think about the title and reflect on it. We all like to see that we have achieved dreams, but now that I have achieved it and lived it, what happens to me is that I want more. It is like a drug. If I had known, I wouldn't have started ... (laughs).

Q: Why did you decide to carry on with number #36 instead of switching to number #1? It seems a lot of people expected you to change…

JM: Well, it is related to what I explained about looking ahead to the future, I don’t consider that my job is done. One day I really hope to be able to use the number 1 plate, but not now; it is not the time. I am 23 years old and I do not consider that it is the moment for it. If one day I win titles like Márquez or Rossi, 8 or 9 times, if it is possible to achieve those things, I would probably take the number 1. But inside me I don't feel like it's time now. The way I see it at the moment is that number 36 represents hard work, number 1 represents showing off. I want to keep winning and striving, it’s something in my character; I do not want to relax or give up.

Q: What room for improvement do you have this year?

JM: I think there is still a margin for improvement, and also one of the advantages I have is that I’m still quite new to the championship, it’s only my third year. The GSX-RR is getting better and better, the team has more experience and this should automatically transfer into good results. We won last year with the package we had, which was very competitive, and starting in the third or fourth row in each race, so I think that if we manage to improve the speed a little to start on the second row it will make my work much easier and I can even be more consistent.

Q: How do you motivate yourself for the coming season?

JM: Motivation for me is easy, it comes quite naturally. I am still too young to run out of motivation; hopefully I have a long career ahead of me. This year will be a year in which Marc (Márquez) will return and I would like to measure myself on the track against him, because he is the one who has dominated in recent years, and this would permit me to keep learning, train better as a rider, and improve my speed.

Q: Analysing the racing scenario, what advantages and disadvantages does 2021 have for you?

JM: Well, we have to wait and see what will happen to the calendar, but for now what is there should not be a problem for us. With things that cannot be controlled, it is best not to waste time on overthinking. Last year was good for me, and that was a very complicated season. If this year is more normal, it will surely be easier for everyone.

Q: If we have fewer back-to-back races at the same circuit like last year, will it benefit you?

JM: Yes, our bike has a very good base which is one of our advantages. When we have repeat races at the same track back-to-back it means the others have more time to get their bikes working better. Last year that was the case at some circuits, so let’s see.

Q: The regulations and bikes do not change much for 2021, is this good in theory?

JM: Yes, it can be good for us because the package we have from last year already has a good base and as soon as it improves we will notice it a lot. But if not, we already know that the bike works very well.

Q: It seems that this year the calendar could be a little more normal than that of 2020, but we continue with the threat of Covid-19, how much stress does it generate to be competing against an unseen rival?

JM: We already know what we have to do, but in some ways that makes it worse; before we just kept going, more relaxed and unaware of what we would find. But this year there will be more pressure to not get infected, not to leave the bubble, because I’ve already seen some riders that lost a lot due to the virus last year.

Q: What goals have you set apart from defending the title?

JM: My main objective, and that of my team, is to improve our qualifying performances. We already know that in the races we are quite fast. But if you start higher up the grid it goes without saying that it’s easier to fight for the podium or victory. So we have to improve in that area and that is why I want to be focused this pre-season and be able to take a step forward.

Q: 2021 will be a year with several riders and team changes, who do you see among your biggest rivals?

JM: Well, I think Morbidelli will be a very difficult opponent, but it’s quite hard to choose the main contenders because last year it was a very strong field and this year will be even more so. Marc (Márquez), if he's okay, he will be the rival to beat for everyone; also my team-mate Alex will be fast.

Q: How do you think your team-mate will perform?

JM: Very well! We have to try to get both of us Suzuki riders at a very high level and encourage each other, because that will also improve the bike naturally. I think last year we did that a bit and we both fought in each race as if it were the last, giving 100%.


Q&A WITH ALEX RINS

Rins-attempt-4-image


QUESTION: Has your winter break felt too long without MotoGP?

ALEX RINS: Yes, I’ll be honest, it’s been feeling pretty long! With the cancellation of the Sepang test it has become even longer, and I wanted to get on the bike as soon as possible. But, unfortunately, we have had to wait.

Q: How could the cancellation of the Sepang test affect the start of the season for you and Suzuki?

AR: Luckily I think we’ll be at an advantage since the engines are frozen this year, and at the same time not many riders will remain in the same team or factories that they were at last year. The riders who are making their debut in the category or changing bike will probably find the loss of the test tougher than those like us who remain the same and with a strong bike. But we will have some additional days here in Qatar anyway.

Q: How has Davide Brivio's departure affected you?

AR: Well, the truth is that it was a big surprise for everyone but life goes on and we have to be focused on what we have right now. The world continues to turn and I will have the same targets and motivation as ever. I am pretty sure that the atmosphere and spirit inside the Suzuki team will be the same, or maybe even better, so I am confident that everything will go well.

Q: What have the Suzuki staff given you for this new season?

AR: They have given me strength and confidence. During the winter I chatted a lot with my Crew Chief, Manuel Cazeaux, and with my mechanics. I would have liked it if they could’ve visited me in Andorra and go skiing all together, but it simply isn’t possible at the moment with the situation.

Q: The winter break meant you could have a rest, but did you also reflect on what worked last year and what didn't?

AR: It has helped me to rest especially, because in 2020 I put too much pressure and demands on my body since the crash in Jerez and it has been good for me to take a little break. But it is also true that I am more keen than ever to get on the bike again and restart. I have reflected on the mistakes we made last year, of course, and I hope they will not be repeated.

Q: What is your physical condition at this start of this season after carrying injury throughout 2020?

AR: I’m doing really well, I’m physically very strong now and I notice it when I am on the bike, in training, and in the gym. Even in the middle of the pre-season I was feeling in very good condition so I hope now I can confirm it. I am looking forward to starting.

Q: Run us through your training plan for 2021?

AR: It has been very similar to what I did in 2020. We have focused on building a good physical basis and evolving it from there. In 2020 I arrived very fit as well but, unfortunately, the crash in Jerez limited everything.

Q: The fact that Joan Mir won the title on the GSX-RR is an extra stimulus; how does his title motivate you?

AR: Yes of course it is a stimulus and it fills you with new motivation because, in the end, the fact that Joan won the Championship shows that the bike was there to win. Anyway, for us also having achieved third position after all the obstacles with the injury and some bad results was very positive and that gives me a lot of strength to start this year.

Q: How much does your rivalry with Joan impact the performance of the bike on the track?

AR: Our rivalry improves the bike of course, but it also helps the work in the box. We both strive to go faster than the other and this path always helps to improve. I really hope to see good competition among us this year.

Q: Considering that the regulations are frozen for 2021 in some areas such as the engine, where do you think Suzuki can find improvements?

AR: If we make improvements, it will have to be in aerodynamics and electronics because the rest is frozen and nothing can be touched for this season. Suzuki is working very hard to bring something good in those aspects. But overall we have a very balanced bike.

Q: After all the rider changes on the grid, if you had to choose three main rivals for this year, who would they be?

AR: Well, it's very difficult! I can’t really say because I don't know, for example, Marc’s (Márquez) physical shape when he’s able to return. He must always be counted as one of the main rivals though. If I have to decide on the results based on last season, I would say Morbidelli, Viñales or Pol Espargaro will all be strong.

Q: Do you feel that Suzuki will have another successful and decorated season? As you said, having the same riders and the same bike is an advantage...

AR: The level of talent on the grid is high and this will create a competitive World Championship as it was in 2020. Even more so if the double races at one circuit are repeated; we have already seen that it allowed close battles. It could be a bright year for Suzuki, but it will certainly be tough as well and we will have to work even harder than last year.

Q: In theory this year’s championship will be a little more extensive and varied than in 2020, but also very Europe focused; is this good for you?

AR: Yes and no. It's good for me because I like circuits in Europe, but I also like those outside of Europe. We have always been strong in the second part of the Championship and I enjoy travelling to the ‘flyways’ so it is a real shame that we cannot have those great races.

Q: And what about the fact that we might not have so many back-to-back races at the same circuit?

AR: It might benefit us if there are no double races, but you never know. What we do know is that one of our strong points is that the bike adapts quickly to different tracks; we go out on each circuit and the bike works well.

Q: What do you think you have learned that can help you improve your weaknesses?

AR: Well I'm not going to say it (laughs) but we are working on it ...

Q: It seems that the World Championship will be conditioned by the persistence of Covid-19 again. Do you feel more prepared to deal with it after the experience of last year, or do you never quite get used to all the protocols and fear?

AR: In the end, when there is something that is not in your hands, that you can’t control, you always try to take the maximum precautions and minimise the damage. But there is always that point of stress about whether or not you are going to get infected on a trip, that is why we are always super protected.

Q: What is your goal for 2021?

AR: Take Suzuki to the top again!


SUZUKI RACING HISTORY IN THE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP


CHAPTER 1 – THE BEGINNING
Suzuki has its historical roots in another industry. The founder, Michio Suzuki, was an innovator who built a weaving factory called Suzuki Loom Works in the small coastal town of Hamamatsu, in Japan’s Shizuoka Prefecture, in 1909. The production focused on cotton fabrics.


CHAPTER 2 - 1950’s: FROM LOOMS TO ASPHALT
World War II and the postwar period left Suzuki in crisis and forced large-scale restructuring.
In 1952, as a result of this climate of uncertainty, Suzuki decided to manufacture its first motorised bicycle.

1952 - The Birth of the First Motorised Bicycle
Named the “Power Free”, the bike was designed as an economical vehicle for those on a low budget. It was powered by a 36cc two-stroke engine anchored to a conventional bicycle. Its versatile design meant it could be ridden in a variety of ways; pedalled without power from the engine, or with full or partial power from the engine.


CHAPTER 3 - 1960’s: SUZUKI START RACING
From the racing debut, to Degner, Anderson and Suzuki’s dominance.

1960: The Racing Debut
The Tourist Trophy in the awe-inspiring Isle of Man was the first ever race in which Suzuki participated. All three Suzuki entrants finished the race.

1962: Finding Success
An East German rider, Ernst Degner, rode Suzuki to their first victory in the Isle of Man TT with a 50cc prototype called RM62. Degner was crucial in the development of those first Suzuki bikes. In 1961, after escaping from East Germany, he joined Suzuki and helped to develop their two-stroke motorcycles, using his in-depth mechanical knowledge and skills.

1962: The Flying Kiwi
In the final round of the racing calendar, New Zealander and former rugby player, Hugh Anderson, gave Suzuki their first win in the 125cc class. It happened at the Autódromo Oscar Alfredo Gálvez in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

1963: Mitsuo Ito
Suzuki faced its second full year in the World Championship.
A development engineer in Hamamatsu, Mitsuo Ito, took an extraordinary victory at the Isle of Man TT. This memorable feat went down in history, as Ito was the first and only Japanese rider to have conquered the dangerous roads of the island.

1963-1965: Anderson Shines
Hugh Anderson, who won the 50cc and 125cc championships in 1963 gave Suzuki two constructors' titles in the same season. He took his third title in 50cc in 1964, and a year later won his fourth, this time in 125cc. Suzuki seemed unstoppable in the smaller classes, and Anderson was confirming his legend status on Suzuki.

1966: The Two Cylinders of Hans-Georg Anscheidt
After the success of Anderson, in 1966 it was Hans-Georg Anscheidt’s turn to explode onto the scene. The German rode the fabulous RK66, a two-cylinder prototype capable of reaching 170 km/h. He confirmed his dominance in the 50cc category for three years, from 1966 to 1968.

And in 1970 Suzuki concluded a brilliant period in the small classes, when another German rider, Dieter Braun, won the 125cc World Championship.

CHAPTER 4 - 1970’s: SHEENE AND THE GLORY YEARS
After their success in the 1960’s, it was time for a change of direction for Suzuki, and they began developing larger capacity motorcycles. Suzuki’s history was about to take a dramatic and inspiring turn.

1971: Findlay’s Victory
On August 12th 1971, Australian Jack Findlay took Suzuki’s first victory in the 500cc class in Belfast.

1976-1977: The Golden Years
Barry Sheene, a young British rider, arrived like a whirlwind into motorcycle racing and revolutionised the sport. Sheene was the first rider to become a celebrity outside of the race track. Considered by his fans almost like a 'Beatle' for his character, his lifestyle, and outlandish behaviour, he took the 500cc title with the RG500 in 1976.
This legendary bike occupied the first six positions in the championship that year. Sheene continued to shine, also winning the 500cc title in 1977.

CHAPTER 5 - 1980’s, TWO ITALIANS JOIN THE FRAY
In the 80’s Suzuki turned to Italy to extend their dominance: Marco Lucchinelli and Franco Uncini both proved successful in a private Italian structure running Suzukis, called Team Gallina, created in 1975.

1981: The Crazy Horse
Marco Lucchinelli was the successor to Sheene at Suzuki. The charismatic Italian rider, nicknamed 'Crazy Horse' for his wild riding style, won the crown with an RG500.
Lucchinelli fought hard with a young and unruly American named Randy Mamola who, despite his enormous talent, could never get a world title.

1982: Uncini
In 1982 success came for another Italian on a Suzuki: Franco Uncini. After five victories that season, he won Suzuki’s second consecutive title.


CHAPTER 6 - 1990’s, THE MAGIC OF SCHWANTZ.
Another of the talents nurtured by Suzuki, Schwantz had one of the most spectacular riding styles ever seen in the World Championship. He pitted his huge talent against his compatriot Wayne Rainey, with whom he maintained an extraordinary rivalry throughout the years.

1993: “When I see God I know it's time to brake”
Kevin Schwantz made history by defeating Yamaha and Wayne Rainey after winning the 500cc World Championship with a RGV-500 in 1993. The Texan had extraordinary charisma and his style remains unforgettable. Not least due to his “full gas” attitude on the bike and his seemingly impossible braking at the limit of physics!

2000: Kenny Roberts Jr.
The next Suzuki World Champion also hailed from America: Kenny Roberts Jr., son of the famous 'King' Kenny Roberts.
Against the odds, he won the 2000 Championship after a total of four victories. That title, the sixth for Suzuki in the premier category, was very special as it put an end to a drought of seven years without a crown. Kenny won it ahead of promising youngster Valentino Rossi!

CHAPTER 7 - THE MODERN ERA
In 2002 the Motorcycle World Championship changed its name to MotoGP, but that wasn’t the only change as new rules saw the introduction of 1000cc four-strokes. After a bedding-in year where both 500cc two-stroke engines and 1000cc four-stroke engines were allowed, it became immediately clear that the latter had more potential, and all manufacturers focused their development in that direction.

2007: First MotoGP Win
Australian Chris Vermeulen gave Team Rizla Suzuki an epic victory in the rain at Le Mans, achieving the brand’s first MotoGP victory.

2015: Back In The Game
After a three year break from the World Championship (from 2011 to 2015), Suzuki returned to the scene with Team SUZUKI ECSTAR.

2016: On Top Of The Podium Again
Spain’s Maverick Viñales flourished, achieving another win for Suzuki, this time at Silverstone.

2019: Fantastic Year
Alex Rins managed to win two races during the season (Austin and Silverstone) to finish the year fourth in the Championship.

2020: Champion of the Century
Joan Mir put together a sensational season, showing consistency and maturity throughout the year to be crowned MotoGP World Champion and put Suzuki back in the spotlight after 20 years. Coupled with Alex Rins’ impressive form, this was truly the ‘comeback’ year for Suzuki - a feat made even more special as the factory celebrated its 100th Anniversary since their founding, and 60 years in racing.


STATISTICS

World Championship Titles - Rider
1962 - 50cc - Ernst Degner (GER)
1963 - 125cc - Hugh Anderson (NZE)
1963 - 50cc - Hugh Anderson (NZE)
1964 - 50cc - Hugh Anderson (NZE)
1965 - 125cc - Hugh Anderson (NZE)
1966 - 50cc - Hans-Georg Anscheidt (GER)
1967 - 50cc - Hans-Georg Anscheidt (GER)
1968 - 50cc - Hans-Georg Anscheidt (GER)
1970 - 125cc - Dieter Braun (GER)
1976 - 500cc - Barry Sheene (GBR)
1977 - 500cc - Barry Sheene (GBR)
1981 - 500cc - Marco Lucchinelli (ITA)
1982 - 500cc - Franco Uncini (ITA)
1993 - 500cc - Kevin Schwantz (USA)
2000 - 500cc - Kenny Roberts, Jr. (USA)
2020 – MotoGP – Joan Mir (SPA)

TOTAL: 16



















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