Suzuki’s quest for a team manager is at an end. After a year of searching for a replacement for Davide Brivio, who left MotoGP to join the Alpine F1 team at the end of 2020, Suzuki has finally announced the hiring of Livio Suppo to run the MotoGP team.
Suppo is a very experienced team manager, having set up Ducati’s MotoGP team when they first entered the class back in 2003, and having run the Repsol Honda squad after leaving Ducati at the end of 2009.
Suppo’s hiring came after Suzuki had talked to a range of candidates.
They had talks with Wilco Zeelenberg, but Zeelenberg was committed to the RNF project with Razlan Razali, and having worked with Yamaha in one capacity or another since he retired from racing at the end of the 2000 season, preferred to stay within the Yamaha family.
There had also been rumors of Johan Stigefelt joining Suzuki, after the Swedish ex-racer’s ousting when Petronas Yamaha disbanded to become RNF, but that never went much beyond rumor.
Suppo had expressed an interest in joining Suzuki at the start of the 2021 season, but Suzuki had decided it was better to wait until the off-season to make a decision. Talks have been going on since the start of the year, and have only just finalized now.
“I am very proud to become Suzuki Ecstar’s Team Manager and happy to re-join the MotoGP Championship after four years,” said Suppo. “I’m also very honored to be involved in this great project with Suzuki; for sure it will be a challenging task to be part of an historic manufacturer in MotoGP, who recently achieved the crown in 2020 in the year of their 100th anniversary.”
“I also feel it will be a great experience to start working with two talented riders like Joan Mir and Alex Rins, both capable of fighting for the top in MotoGP. Sahara-san’s proposal came at the perfect time for me, I had been busy setting up my e-bike company, but I was certainly missing the paddock and ready to come back.”
“Racing has been my life for almost all my career and I will do my best to bring my experience to Team Suzuki Ecstar. I know they are a great team, but also a great group of humans, so this could help a lot to achieve our goals sooner. MotoGP nowadays is more and more exciting, with many very fast riders and competitive motorcycles from all manufacturers.”
“It’s a difficult challenge for everybody involved, where all the small details can make the difference, I am ready to be part of the game again and give my all to be on top with Suzuki.”
Suppo’s first job will be to oversee the re-signing of current riders Joan Mir and Alex Rins. Keeping Mir on board had looked a tricky proposition prior to the Sepang test, the 2020 world champion expressing dissatisfaction with the progress Suzuki made.
Mir’s public opinion changed drastically after Sepang, the 2022 Suzuki GSX-RR being the step forward he had hoped for.
Source: Suzuki Racing