Suzuki rejected the “defend champions” mentality

Joan Mir led Suzuki to its first MotoGP title since 2000 last year, with the Japanese brand also winning the team championship.

But defending his title was difficult as Suzuki was eliminated without a win in 2021 and Mir was only able to achieve six podiums in 18 races due to the lack of development of the GSX-RR compared to the 2020 motorcycle.

Looking ahead to the 2021 Suzuki season, Sahara said: “We won the drivers ‘and teams’ titles last year.

“In comparison, it was a very difficult, a very tough season for us this year.

“Before we started this season, we decided not to be the defending champion, but decided to be challengers again in order to reach the top position in every race.

“But that meant we had some difficult moments in the middle of the season and also in the first half of the season.

“Luckily we still had two strong drivers. Joan is still very consistent and has speed.

“We need something small to get more speeds and results.

“As everyone knows, the Suzuki sometimes fights for qualifying results. It costs our race results, so it’s very difficult. “

Shinichi Sahara, Team Suzuki MotoGP

Shinichi Sahara, Team Suzuki MotoGP

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Suzuki underwent a major management reshuffle ahead of the 2021 season when Talisman team manager Davide left Brivio to join Alpine in Formula 1.

Project manager Sahara became a de facto team manager, with Suzuki choosing not to replace Brivio directly and instead hiring a seven-person management committee.

Sahara admits his new role in 2021 was overwhelming and is in the process of finding a replacement for Brivio – although the Italian’s return was ruled out last month.

“My new role as team manager was way too much for me,” said Sahara. “It’s overcrowded. But with the support of team members, everything was done right.

“So I’m very satisfied in this area. I’m trying to create a new structure for next year, to invite a new team manager for next year. This has to be remedied in the last phase. “

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