Suzuki team boss Davide Brivio says his squad’s ambition to “put the team back in its rightful place” in 2018 will depend on perfect technical decisions during pre-season testing after a tough last campaign.

Towards the end of 2017 Suzuki duo Alex Rins and Andrea Iannone finally saw an upturn in results having struggled throughout the season for a number of reasons and the year was capped by its best results with Rins fourth and Iannone sixth in Valencia.

Back in November, Brivio told the core problems behind Suzuki’s 2017 struggles had been its new engine specification which was altered to negate the traction issues of the previous year but caused new issues with turning and handling.

Reflecting on the 2017 season as a whole, Brivio also accepts the injuries which ruled out Rins during the middle part of the MotoGP campaign also stagnated the team’s progress which relied on rider feedback coupled with updates from Suzuki in Japan.

“The truth is that the 2017 season has been quite difficult. Only in the last four or five races have we been able to recover some ground with respect to the beginning of the year. But in general we have not obtained what we expected,” Brivio said.

“With the misfortune of Alex on the second day of the Valencia test, Andrea was left alone in the development of the bike and that has penalised us a bit. Rins returned to Sepang, not 100% fit, which hindered him later and then there were two more fractures in the foot and the wrist ruined the middle of the season for him.

“Andrea was only on the team except for the temporary help of Sylvain Guintoli – who replaced Alex for some races – and therefore couldn’t work with another rider together in the evolution of the bike. The worst part of the season for us coincided with the European stages when our results were quite far off our expectations.

“The Racing Department of Suzuki in Japan worked very hard trying to find where the problems were and to be able to at least partially solve them. That’s why at the end of the season we were able to improve some of the benefits and slightly emerge in terms of results.”

With Rins back in action and competitive thanks to 11th place at Brno and ninth place at Silverstone, twinned with the factory improvements on the GSX-RR machines, Brivio was pleased with the progress in results and is eager to use the Valencia-spec bikes as a base setting for 2018.

“One key was Alex’s return which stimulated both riders and is why in the last five races we were in the top five and therefore we managed to end the year where we should have been,” he said. “In the end fourth place for Alex and sixth place for Andrea in Valencia will be a bit of our basis to start next year in 2018.

“We will try to prepare the best bikes for 2018 and be very attentive to each and every one of the decisions that we will have to adopt on a technical level during the winter in order to enjoy the nine days of testing we have before the 2018 season to begin a great year that puts Suzuki back in its rightful place.”