The final team to launch their 2021 campaign did so this morning, and in true Suzuki style, they have given us an understated stunner. Whilst this year’s GSX-RR doesn’t look drastically different from the 100 year anniversary look they unveiled last year, in fact it is entirely the same just with an added Monster energy logo stuck to the underside of the chassis, there’s no doubting she’s a classy bike.
Last year’s championship winners are clearly the favourites for the title this year, especially considering the engine development freeze that the Covid-19 pandemic has forced on the MotoGP manufacturers. However, despite the GSX-RR’s impressive ability to nurse its tyres throughout a race, and their frankly unbelievable turning manoeuvres, their one-lap abilities are disastrous and the loss of team boss Davide Brivio, who has taken on a role with the Alpine F1 team, is a huge blow.
Does Suzuki have it in them to take back to back titles?
Well, they’re the only team to have kept both of their riders, which is a positive sign. With Brivio being the only major change in senior management, the team is arguably a more cohesive unit than any of the other teams who will spend the first few races adapting to their new additions. As well as this, Suzuki have always prided themselves on having a family feel to their working environment, so as difficult as Brivio’s departure is surely going to be, I am confident that the ‘committee’ approach that the team are implementing instead of hiring a new team manager will be a successful endeavour.
Speaking of their riders, current World Champion Joan Mir is eager to repeat his World Title winning ways, but has admitted that he doesn’t view himself as the outright favourite, and is far more concerned with continuing his consistency, becoming a better rider and winning races.
I have a title I have to defend, which is something that is… a little stressful. But I will try to do it as best as I can, trying to keep our consistency of last year, and to improve our speed – it’s clear what we have to do, no? Sounds easy, but it’s quite difficult. [First pole position] can be a target, it looks difficult though! Maybe more difficult than to repeat the title! We have areas to improve, one is the qualifying. I think we have margins to improve. I’m young, and Suzuki also is young, we have to continue improving the bike, and improving myself, my skills, but we have a lot of time to improve this. It’s true that we now have the experience of one title, but this is only an advantage. Everything looks great, from the outside, so let’s see.Joan Mir – 2020 Moto GP World Champion
Considered words from the 23-year-old and he is correct. He achieved the title in only his second year in the premier class, an impressive feat and surely one he will be able to repeat considering the assumption that he could have at least another 10 years left in his career. If the man’s main aim is to focus on himself and improving his riding style, I’d say that a title change is definitely on the cards, but if he doesn’t repeat it this year, he will have more than enough time to achieve another.
Thus we move onto Suzuki’s other rider, Alex Rins. For me personally, I think Rins should have easily taken last year’s title. An unfortunate injury obtained in Free Practise before the first round of the season saw Rins struggling with a broken collarbone throughout the entirety of the 2020 season, and the man still managed to achieve 3rd overall in the championship. Rins has proven himself to be an incredibly capable rider, forcing his way through the field multiple times to end up on the podium, and even take some stunning race wins, including his victory in Aragon last year, where he came from 11th on the grid. He is even one of the only riders to have outfoxed Marc Marquez if anyone recalls that phenomenal victory in Silverstone 2019.
With the Suzuki package performing at its most competitive level in their history, and Rins no longer suffering with an injury, he’s my favourite for the title this year. He has more experience than Mir, his riding style is more defined (and more ruthless) than Mir’s, and he has the most motivation of anyone on the grid – after all, your first rival is your team mate.
I’m super excited! For sure, last year I learned a lot, so for this year, I will try not to make the same mistakes, and I will try to be at my 100%. Yeah, I think [consistency] can be the key. To be there, to have a good consistency, because all the races count, so we need to be there. It’s a long season to be sure; we don’t want to miss any points! So if I can finish in 3rd, that’s better than finishing 5th. So let’s give everything.Alex Rins – Title Challenger for 2021
Therefore, in answer to the question; can Suzuki win the championship again this year? I would say yes. Their focus will of course have to be on improving their one-lap speed because although their bikes may be able to overtake easily, why create all that work for your riders on race day? Not to mention, the further back on the grid you are, the more likely it is that you will be caught in someone else’s crash. I’m rooting for Rins, I just feel he would be the smartest horse to back as it were, but after last year I am certain that no one is going to discount Joan Mir.
So that’s it! All the teams are revealed! With pre-season testing underway in Qatar, we can officially say that MotoGP 2021 is underway. Lights out, and away we go!
This article was written by the fantastic Rebekah Lee, our resident Motorsport nut and MA Creative writing graduate. She’s been fascinated by all things motorsports since childhood – follow her on Twitter at @bekahjlee
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