Suzuki MotoGP boss Davide Brivio confirms exit ahead of F1 move

Suzuki MotoGP boss Davide Brivio announces a shock MotoGP exit ahead of a switch to head up the Alpine team in F1 for 2021

Davide Brivio, Joan Mir, Suzuki

Davide Brivio, the architect behind Suzuki Ecstar romp to the MotoGP World Championship in 2020, has confirmed he is exiting the title-winning team ahead of a widely anticipated switch to F1.

Amid rumours in recent days that the Italian was being lined up for a shock switch of discipline for 2021, Suzuki has confirmed Brivio will leave Suzuki with immediate effect to ‘pursue new challenges in his professional and personal life, away from MotoGP’.

He is expected to be formally confirmed in a new role at the Alpine F1 Team, which enters the series this year as the renamed Renault F1 Team, and oversee drivers Esteban Ocon and returning two-time world champion Fernando Alonso.

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“A new professional challenge and opportunity suddenly came to me and in the end I decided to take it. It has been a difficult decision. The hardest part will be to leave this fabulous group of people, whom I started this project with when Suzuki rejoined the Championship. And it’s hard to say goodbye also to all the people who have arrived over the years to create this great Team. 

“I feel sad from this point of view, but at the same time I feel a lot of motivation for this new challenge - which was the key when I had to decide between renewing my contract with Suzuki or starting a completely new experience.

“Achieving a MotoGP title is something that will remain in the Suzuki history books and it will always have a special place in my life memories. I would like to deeply thank all the Suzuki management for their trust and confidence in me, which they had since the beginning. I would like to thank every single member of our MotoGP group in Japan and at the track, all the Suzuki network, and of course all the riders who rode for the Team in this period, especially Joan and Alex who did a great 2020 season.

“Joan becoming World Champion was a dream come true for me and for all the people who worked hard and accompanied me on this magnificent journey. I wish the best to Team Suzuki MotoGP, I hope that the results in the future will be better and better and I will always be a Suzuki fan. Thanks very much Suzuki!”

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Though his F1 move hasn’t been officially confirmed as yet, it is widely anticipated and when it is it will mark a surprise change of tact for one of MotoGP’s most influential figures.

Indeed, Brivio’s impact has been significant during the modern era of MotoGP and is widely credited with being able to bridge the gap between the Japanese factories and the European-based race teams at both Suzuki and Yamaha where he previously worked.

He is considered the man to ultimately convince Valentino Rossi to depart Honda in favour of a move to Yamaha in 2003, with Brivio overseeing the majority of the Italian’s ensuing success with the Japanese firm.

Going to join the revived Suzuki MotoGP outfit in 2015, Brivio’s amiable management style has made him a popular figure in the paddock with a focus on fostering a collaborative working environment and taking a punt on upcoming talent - such as Maverick Vinales, Alex Rins and new champion Joan Mir - the hallmarks of his time there.

Creating a strong sense of team spirit, as MotoGP Editor Peter McLaren terms it, he says it is notable that very few team members ever choose to leave Suzuki of their own volition.

However, Brivio’s exit does leave Suzuki in a quandary ahead of a critical season in which it will defend the riders’ and teams’ MotoGP World Championships.

One name that has been highlighted for a potential replacement is ex-Honda boss Livio Suppo, who remains out of work having overseen titles for both Casey Stoner and Marc Marquez.