Suzuki team manager Davide Brivio says losing concessions in 2018 was his squad’s “main objective” with its historic podium haul exceeding expectations but warns it increases pressure for the new MotoGP season.

The Japanese manufacturer collected a total of nine podiums across last season, five for Alex Rins and four for Andrea Iannone, making it Suzuki’s highest rostrum tally in the MotoGP era by beating 2007’s effort of eight, which included Chris Vermeulen’s French Grand Prix win.

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Suzuki officially lost its concession status with Iannone’s third place at Aragon, reaching the six-point concession limit, which Brivio saw as the team’s key target for 2018 and wants his squad to build upon it for the upcoming MotoGP campaign.

“Our main objective was to lose the concessions as soon as possible, therefore by collecting six points (two for each second place, one for each third place) and losing the concession quite early in the season, I must say that 2018 went better than expected,” Brivio told Suzuki’s Review Magazine.

“It might sound strange to want to lose them, because the concessions give you some little advantages, but it’s more important to us to be level with the other manufacturers.

“The biggest advantage is the development of the engine throughout the season, you get more test days and you’re able to use nine engines instead of seven. These things are helpful but not really imperative for the success of a season.

“I like to think that we have been promoted to the ‘senior ranks’, we are now even with Honda, Ducati and Yamaha as we all have to fight with the same weaponry. This is nice for us and also fairer. In addition, when we take a really top result it will be more satisfying to know that we did it without any assistance.”

The Suzuki chief remains wary of celebrating last year’s feats too strongly for fear of suffering a repeat of two years ago when Suzuki endured a rostrum-less run in 2017, regaining its concession status as a result, following an impressive 2016 when Maverick Vinales secured one win and three additional podiums.

Brivio feels Suzuki must improve on its record haul of rostrums for 2019, with the extra goal of securing its first race win since Vinales at the 2016 British MotoGP, and anticipates the pressure to increase accordingly.

“There’s no doubt that nine podiums give you a very nice feeling, but they also put some pressure on your shoulders because now we must improve even further,” he said. “These nine podiums represent a record for Suzuki since the MotoGP class era, so now we have the pressure to beat this record.

“But it’s right that there should be pressure because this is the sport, this is racing and what we must deal with. Therefore, I still don’t know how, but we must get even better results and we will do all we can to achieve this.

“The first and biggest dream we have is to win a race. We’ve placed second four times, three of which were with Alex, therefore it would be a natural evolution for him to try to win and this will be our objective, hopefully in the short term.”

Suzuki welcomes rookie rider Joan Mir to the team in 2019 with Alex Rins assuming the senior rider role despite just two years in the premier class. The Japanese manufacturer also retains its MotoGP test team headed up by former World Superbike champion Sylvain Guintoli.

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