Suzuki won the 2020 riders’ title with Joan Mir, who put together an incredibly consistent season. The young Majorcan was supported by crew chief Frankie Carchedi who admits: “I knew he had something special from the first time I saw him”.

With the winter break now almost over, teams and riders will soon return to the track at Losail, in Qatar, with testing set to kick off on 6 March. Looking back at his first meeting with Mir, Carchedi recalls: We knew we had options with him, even though there were areas in which to work. We told him and he prepared very well for the championship. He hasn’t changed since that first day, he knew what he wanted. Not everyone believed in him, but we did”.

Everyone is wondering how much of a bearing Davide Brivio’s absence will have on the team’s work and Carchedi comments: “It’s hard to say for now. We’ve always had a strong relationship with Japan. Now Davide’s gone, we’ll work a lot more with Sahara and everything’s going well so far”.

The strengths

Back to Mir, and the characteristics he has improved upon since his debut three years ago. One in particular stands out to Carchedi: “Braking is his strength. He’s able to brake in a way that other riders cannot, so although he’s braking at the same point, he does it with less pressure”. Over the years, he has matured too: “At first, everything was fine for him but then he realised he could develop the bike to make it more comfortable. He’s also taken a step forward with the electronics and can be a more rounded rider this season”.

One thing he does need to work on is qualifying: “And also the first laps of the race, to make his life easier. He has great potential and can improve, just as other riders have, Miller for example”.

The atmosphere in the Hamamatsu garage is healthy and Carchedi explains: At Suzuki we don’t have a number 1 and a number 2, we’re a small manufacturer. If Mir wins the title, I’m happy but I’m also happy if Rins wins. Davide taught us this. We want to see both riders fighting at the front”.

Translated by Heather Watson

Mir: “Marquez? I wouldn't be surprised if he's immediately fighting to win”