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EXCLUSIVE Davide Brivio (Suzuki MotoGP) - Q&A

17 June 2013

On Monday morning, just as the new Suzuki was making its public debut at the Catalunya test, the factory confirmed that it will return to MotoGP competition - but in 2015 rather than 2014.

A few hours into the test, Crash.net spoke with Suzuki's new Test Team manager Davide Brivio at Catalunya, to find out more about Suzuki's MotoGP project - including the reasons behind the delay...

Crash.net:
When was your first contact with Suzuki?

Davide Brivio:
I was contacted a few months ago and they asked me to run the testing activities for 2013. Of course I was excited because I did this job for many, many years as a team manager [at Yamaha] and I missed the excitement and adrenaline.

When they offered, we talked - it was very difficult for me to say no! Because it is such a great opportunity. So thanks to Suzuki that they thought of me. I am very pleased about that.

Crash.net:
Who else is involved with the team?

Davide Brivio:
This is a testing team. So we have involved some Suzuki guys from before, like Tom O'Kane who is of course a great crew chief. Then we have Ramon who is an experienced mechanic and Russell Jordan for the parts. Let's say there are three important sectors where we tried to get some continuity with the past. People who know the Suzuki system. Good people. This was the base.

Then they asked me and there is also Roberto Brivio, my brother, who worked for many years as co-ordinator for me. So we both have some experience that we will try to use as best we can with this project.

In addition to these five western people, we are mixed with Japanese staff. Two Japanese mechanics, the electronics guys are Japanese etc... So with this mix we created the testing team.

Crash.net:
Obviously the big news this morning was Suzuki's return, but in 2015. What is the main reason behind 2015 instead of 2014?

Davide Brivio:
The main reason is that we want to enter MotoGP in the best possible shape and we think we need more time to be prepared. There are a few very important regulation changes for 2014, starting with the control ECU, which we don't know.

We are using a Mitsubishi [ECU] here. We only just got the Magneti-Marelli [control ECU] in house and we are getting to know it and trying to make a first experience. So we have some material from Magneti-Marelli in the factory and our electronic people are starting to understand and work on it.

But we don't have it in the bike yet. So you can imagine it will go on the bike maybe later this year. Then it takes time to develop and gain experience. That is why to have one more year will be very, very helpful and useful for us.

Then the fuel consumption will be reduced from 21 to 20 litres next year. This is also an area where we need to make some work, to adjust our fuel consumption.

Then there are the engine regulations. Now there are only five engines available for the season - even if there is some discussion that for the new entrants there can be more engines in their first year.

All together we think we need more time and one year for sure will be more useful for our preparation. That is why we decided to postpone.

But I think the very important - and in my opinion very positive - news is that Suzuki has decided to come back to MotoGP. That is committed. That is very important. Okay, it is one year later, but Suzuki will come back. This is the great news in my opinion.

And now we have to use this extra year as best we can.

Crash.net:
How many tests do you have planned for this year?

Davide Brivio:
Four tests. Here at Barcelona, Aragon [later this week], then we go to Misano in September and Mugello.

Crash.net:
Not Valencia?

Davide Brivio:
At the moment no. We were thinking of going to Valencia, in case we were racing in 2014. Now that we don't enter, it's probably - Valencia is at the end of the season, a busy test, very messy! So at the moment we are thinking to skip Valencia and make a proper plan for 2014.

Crash.net:
You expect the European test schedule to increase in 2014...

Davide Brivio:
Yeah I hope so. We will try to increase and put more effort. Now the decision has been taken to race in 2015 we will make our plan.

Crash.net:
Is there a chance of a wild-card race next year? Would you, as the team manager, like to have a wild-card to see where you are and learn?

Davide Brivio:
At the moment there is no plan for a wild-card entry, because as I say the decision [to race in 2015] has only just been taken. We are still thinking. In the coming weeks and months we will discuss the proper plan. But let's see if during our discussion we might find some benefit in doing a wild-card. We might consider it.

Crash.net:
And you would like to continue with Randy de Puniet as the test rider next year?

Davide Brivio:
This is not decided yet because the agreement with Randy was for 2013. We will see. Randy is doing a good job. We are very happy to work with him. He is very precise with his comments. He gives good feedback. The engineers are pleased and comfortable working with him.

For sure we will discuss this option, but it will depend also - we can't offer a racing programme [next year]. So it will depend on what he wants to do and if it clashes with his races.

Crash.net:
A few questions about the bike, first of all what is its name?

Davide Brivio:
There is no name yet! There is only some sort of code, it is like an internal design centre code.

Crash.net:
What is that?

Davide Brivio:
It is 'XRH1'. As I say, it is just an internal code. It is not the marketing name. That will come later. It is not decided yet.

Crash.net:
Suzuki has an inline engine now instead of a V4. Is it a 'big bang' engine?

Davide Brivio:
Yeah at the moment it is a 'big bang' engine, but of course in this development stage we are also exploring different options before we make our final choice. But at the moment yes, it is 'big bang'.

Crash.net:
The factory Yamaha riders have made clear they would like a seamless shift gearbox, similar to the designs used by Honda and Ducati. Is that something Suzuki has, or is working on?

Davide Brivio:
Not at the moment! We will see...

Crash.net:
Thanks Davide.

Davide Brivio:
You are welcome.


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