MotoGP

Suzuki isn’t shopping for MotoGP riders… but they were approached

Suzuki Ecstar indicates its intentions to retain riders Alex Rins and Joan Mir beyond the 2020 MotoGP World Championship season

Suzuki Ecstar has given the clearest indication yet that it intends to retain its current MotoGP rider line-up of Alex Rins and Joan Mir beyond the 2020 MotoGP season despite rumours of interest in other available parties.

Rumours prior to the unveiling of its 2020 MotoGP challenger suggested it was preparing to announce Rins at least would be staying with the manufacturer for another two seasons.

However, while there was no word on a deal as the covers were pulled off the retro silver and blue livery GSX-RR, team manager Davide Brivio says talks are ongoing to keep Rins and Joan Mir in the team for 2021 and 2022.

“We've been talking for a long time with them. We didn’t yet sign an agreement but it’s quite clear Alex wants to continue with Suzuki, Joan is happy to continue with Suzuki," he told Crash.net.

"We are very happy to keep them because also we started quite a clear project with them. First we decided to grow up a rider as a rookie like Alex. Then once Alex became, in our opinion, strong we did the same with Joan.

"Our idea is to that, within the top group of maybe 5-6 MotoGP riders, two of them should be our riders, and then see what happens. It looks like it's working and that's why we want to keep both of them and continue this project and see what we can achieve together."

With erstwhile uncertainty around the futures of Fabio Quartararo and Maverick Vinales in the context of their Yamaha deals raising speculation that either could be a target for teams like Ducati and Suzuki, Brivio admits approaches of interest were made but didn’t get far, adding Rins and Mir are also potential targets to leave.

“Sometimes I'm quite pleased that our riders are becoming so attractive on the market!" smiled Brivio. "It means we did a good job and made good choices.

“"It's clear we are happy to keep them and they are happy to stay. It's quite normal that everybody talks to everybody, also there are rider managers asking us about the situation in Suzuki, there are probably manufacturers contacting [our] riders. "It's quite normal in this environment…. But I hope they don’t take [other approaches] seriously!"

Suzuki suffering from not running satellite team?

Though Suzuki’s rider choices since returning to MotoGP have been fairly en pointe first with Vinales and then with Rins, it is notable as the only race winning manufacturer on the grid without a satellite support.

It’s a policy it has stuck to for many years – even before its hiatus in the early 2010s – but often means it is left somewhat lacking in options when it comes to choosing riders.

Though the team has proven its success as a tight, efficient two-man team, it leaves it with few options when it comes to nurturing new talent as the likes of Yamaha, Suzuki and Honda do, especially if one of them is lured away.

For now, Rins and Mir make a versatile pairing of youth and proven talent, but while Suzuki has expressed a desire to support a satellite effort, it hasn’t quite been able to.

With Aprilia expected to swell to four bikes from 2022 with an in-house factory effort and a Gresini satellite team, Suzuki could be left out-gunned and out-numbered…

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