And Then There Was One!
Only one team remain to unveil their 2021 machinery, and it just so happens to be the World Champions. Can Suzuki repeat the glory of 2020?
2020 was a year that most will always want to forget, but will be impossible to do so. For Suzuki it was a year they will remember forever, it's clear to see why! Two wins, eleven podiums, a riders world championship and the teams world championship. Suzuki for the first time since Kenny Roberts Jr back in 2000, will be starting the new season as the team to beat, can they handle the pressure?
Suzuki will be revealing to the world their challenger for this season from the desert in Losail, Qatar on Saturday, ready for the first test of pre-season which kicks off on Saturday as well. The underdogs of previous years will well and truly be the team to beat, especially with all the factory sides having one or two new faces in the garage eager to prove at point. World champion Joan Mir, who opted not to run the illusive number one this season, will be fully focused on retaining his crown, his sheer speed and consistency throughout the 2020 season, proved why the young rider from Palma, Spain deserved the 2020 title, whilst others including his teammate Alex Rins buckled under the pressure. Rins too will not be wanting to play second fiddle to his world champion teammate, could a team rivalry reminiscent of the Lorenzo and Rossi days be on the horizon, only time will tell.
With the huge loss of ex-team manager Davide Brivio, being headhunted by the newly branded Alpine F1 team, many will wonder how losing one of the most successful team managers in motorcycling history, will impact the Japanese champions . Brivio has been at the heart of Suzuki's return to MotoGP since 2015, and has been a key factor in the recent success of the team. A hole of that magnitude to fill may leave team members unsure of who to turn to in decisive moments, especially with Suzuki's decision not to hire someone to replace one of the paddocks favourite faces.
How big a part Davide's loss will have on the team is a topic that will monitored throughout the season. Fitting it may seem that it's the world champions who will be last to show off their machinery, or is it a sign of modesty and full focus on the upcoming season, one that has seen MotoGP activate a freeze on engine development for 2021. Suzuki had one of the most consistent bikes in 2020, so with the majority of the bike having to remain the same in 2021, they can be hopeful for a repeat of last year. Yes, Suzuki didn't have the fastest bike in 2020, but what they did have was a bike that performed at a high level every weekend, and was notorious for having two riders on board with supreme race pace. It was a common sight to see a Suzuki stuck in Q1, what was even more common was seeing a Suzuki go from P13 at the start to ending on the rostrum.
That was 2020 though, 2021 is a new season with new challenges. A change of management, a full calendar, and riders like Jack Miller, Pol Espargaro, Francesco Bagnaia and Fabio Quartararo all moving to factory teams respectively, will be determined to knock the Japanese squad down a peg or too, and who can forget about a certain Mr Marc Marquez. There is so much to be excited for this season and so much that remains unknown, one thing that is for certain is all eyes will be set on Suzuki on Saturday, the team to beat in 2021.