MotoGP: Livio Suppo becomes team manager at Suzuki
Livio Suppo has returned to the MotoGP paddock as the new team manager of Team Suzuki Ecstar.
Suppo takes up the position vacated by Davide Brivio in the early months of 2021, with Suzuki running a management committee last season, headed by project leader Shinichi Sahara.
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In Suppo, Suzuki have one of the most experienced and most successful managers in the premier class. He became project leader at Ducati in 2003 and helped guide Casey Stoner to the 2007 title. Suppo remained in red until 2011, when he left for Repsol Honda.
Suppo convinced Stoner to join him at HRC, with the duo securing another title together in 2012. Three more titles would follow with Marc Marquez in 2013, 2014 and 2016.
“I am very proud to become Suzuki Ecstar’s Team Manager and happy to re-join the MotoGP Championship after four years,” Suppo said. “I’m also very honoured 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.”
2021 was a tricky year for Suzuki following Brivio’s shock departure. Joan Mir managed to finish third overall thanks to his individual talent and ability, but failed to win a race. On the other side of the garage, Alex Rins suffered six DNFs on his way to 13th overall.
Development of the bike was also slow compared to Ducati and Yamaha, leaving both riders at a disadvantage – especially down the straights against the Desmocedici riders.
“I’m very happy to announce the news of Livio Suppo as our new Team Manager before the new season starts,” Sahara added. “I’m confident that Livio is very well suited for the position, because he has a lot of experience and a big passion for winning. He understands how teams work and that team atmospheres are important when it comes to being competitive consistently during a season.
“Some of our crew members already have experience of working with him, and I’ve known him for long time because he’s been in the paddock for many years. We’ve already seen promising signs and improvements in our performance during winter testing, and I believe Livio joining us will bolster our team further and we will become even stronger.”
Things are looking much more positive for the Suzuki heading into the 2022 season opener next weekend. Improvements have been made with the GSX-RR’s electronics and tyre management, whilst a new chassis, upgraded ride height device and more powerful engine have been introduced.