Suzuki positive for losing concessions which puts it with Honda, Yamaha & Ducati
Davide Brivio likes to believe that Suzuki has been promoted to be at the same rank as its MotoGP rivals Honda, Yamaha and Ducati post the 2018 season.
For the first time since the 2007 season and a bit like 2016, Suzuki looked like a competitive unit in the 2018 MotoGP season when it took the challenge to its formidable rivals Honda, Yamaha and Ducati in certain races.
So much so, the positive results means the Japanese manufacturer has lost its concessions which will limit their advantage to work on the bike during the season with extra test days - they are now in the same place as the three other manufacturers.
Even though they still have work to do to catch their rivals but the manufacturer is taking the concession loss as a positive step as they reckon it puts them in a similar level to their rivals, who are fighting for the respective titles.
After no podiums in 2017, Suzuki managed to eke out nine of them in 2018 which included four second place finishes wherein they were close to claim their first win since the 2016 British GP.
"There’s no doubt that nine podiums give you a very nice feeling, but they also put some pressure on your shoulders because now we must improve even further," said Brivio. "These nine podiums represent a record for Suzuki since the MotoGP class era.
"So, now we have the pressure to beat this record. But it’s right that there should be pressure; because this is the sport, this is racing, and what we must deal with. Therefore, I still don’t know how, but we must get even better results.
"We will do all we can to achieve this. The first and biggest dream we have is to win a race. It might sound strange to want to lose them [concessions], because the concessions give you some little advantages, but it’s more important to us to be level with the other manufacturers.
"The biggest advantage is the development of the engine throughout the season, you get more test days and you’re able to use nine engines instead of seven. These things are helpful but not really imperative for the success of a season.
"I like to think that we have been promoted to the 'senior ranks', we are now even with Honda, Ducati and Yamaha as we all have to fight with the same weaponry. This is nice for us and also more fair.
"In addition, when we take a really top result it will be more satisfying to know that we did it without any assistance." The turnaround from 2017 to 2018 has been tremendous for Suzuki as it managed to jump two places in the teams' standings as well.
Brivio stressed on the work done in Japan while also hailed the services of Andrea Iannone and especially Alex Rins, who stepped up his game in 2018 which not only pushed Iannone but also the entire team with proper development.
He also hailed the work of its test rider Sylvain Guintoli as his work allowed for better use of the machinery with the experience he had. With 2018 done and dusted, the preparation is now in full swing for 2019 where it will have Rins alongside rookie Joan Mir.
It will be another year of developing a rider for Suzuki but that hasn't deterred the team's determination. Talking about 2019, Brivio said: "We will not have a brand new bike for 2019, but we are working on improving the main elements: engine and chassis.
"We tested a new version of the engine that is designed to give us more power and speed, it looks like its working well so now we have to understand how this new engine will affect the overall balance of the bike with all the other elements.
"This new engine was used by Guintoli in the GP of Japan, Alex tested it in Valencia and finally both factory riders tried it in the latest Jerez test. We had to take a decision on the engine by the end of November but we also have to pay attention to the chassis.
"We have a new version available but here the choice is harder, we have to understand how and where we have advantages and disadvantages. Nowadays we – just like other manufacturers – have come to a level where the standard chassis is already an excellent base.
"And improving overall without losing in some areas is very very difficult, it requires very deep analysis. We have different options for the engine, different options for the chassis, and also different options for other items.
"The hard part now is to piece together the best performing composition with all these elements to bring to FP1 in Qatar. This will cause big headaches during the winter for all our engineers in our headquarters in Japan, but it’s also a very interesting and intriguing part of racing."
[Note: This story was also written by me on FormulaRapida.net]