A world champion in the Moto3 categorize, Maverick Vinales was fast-tracked to MotoGP after four wins during his only season in Moto2. He went on to show maturity beyond his 20 years as he methodically learnt the intricacies of the premier-class and new GSX-RR machine.
Vinales scored points in the opening ten races - an unprecedented feat for a rookie - and qualified second on the grid at Catalunya, just 0.083s behind experienced team-mate Aleix Espargaro.
The younger Spaniard went on to claim what would be Suzuki’s best result of its comeback season with sixth in the race, a result Espargaro later matched at Aragon and Vinales repeated at Sepang.
Espargaro got the better of Vinales by just eight points in the final championship standings.
Maverick’s performances soon saw him picked out as a future MotoGP ‘Top Gun’ by the likes of Cal Crutchlow and Valentino Rossi.
Unsurprisingly, Suzuki faced a real fight to keep hold of its young star beyond 2016 - and, by the time he won the factory's first race since 2007 at Silverstone, he was already confirmed as moving to Yamaha.