2020 was a year of success. 2021 should have been a year of confirmation but this hasn’t been the case. So what’s happened and what is happening in the Suzuki camp? Current world champion Joan Mir is not only not fighting for the title, but he also seems to have lost that incredible feeling he had with the GSX-RR, which allowed him to climb up through the field and reach the podium. And Alex Rins? The Spaniard has reached the podium just once this season. There’s a lot for Suzuki to think about.
What are the problems?
Mir and Rins are two talented riders, no doubt about it. And it seemed, up until this year, that they were the perfect riders for the Suzuki. In 2020, there was an idyllic atmosphere between rider and bike, and in the garage too. A balance that was perhaps lost when team manager Davide Brivio left for Formula 1. Current world champion Mir has often said that the Suzuki is lacking speed this year, an important aspect that needs to be looked at ahead of 2022. Mir is also unable to make the kind of incredible recoveries we saw last season. The Suzuki’s strengths appear to have vanished but, despite a few evident problems, it’s hard to imagine that the blame lies solely with the bike. Even at the last Texas round, a race that Rins won in 2019, we expected at least a podium finish. But this wasn’t the case and number #42 finished fourth, 11 seconds from Marc Marquez, first, while Joan Mir finished eighth, more than 13 seconds back. So what can the Japanese team do to get its groove back?
Many changes to consider
Having returned to the reigning class in 2015, it was more than able to take on giants that had long been competitive. Its strength has always been the family atmosphere in the garage, a united team in which harmony has always ruled supreme, and with a team manager ready to encourage his riders, spurring them on and encouraging healthy competition. His absence clearly has a bearing but, to find its way again, perhaps Suzuki needs a change regarding the riders themselves. Alex Rins could be the first change, Suzuki perhaps considering a different type of rider, more consistent and reactive, even selecting a youngster from Moto2 as it did in 2015 with Maverick Vinales. There’s no doubt that Suzuki has lost its way and it needs to make some important changes if it wants to get back on track – a new rider, a new team manager and new bike development that can see it grow as its rivals have. Coasting is no longer enough and a turnaround is required ahead of 2022.
Translated by Heather Watson