Suzuki team manager Davide Brivio has explained how the entire MotoGP team has helped develop Alex Rins into “a top rider”, while he’s eager to see Sylvain Guintoli at the test team step up its efforts after a successful 2018.

After an injury-hit rookie MotoGP campaign, Rins ended 2017 with a run of strong results culminating in fourth place in Valencia to equal Suzuki’s best finish in a difficult year.

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With a productive winter testing programme, Rins and Suzuki produced their best MotoGP campaign in terms of podiums with the Spaniard taking five of the Japanese manufacturer’s nine rostrums in total.

With Andrea Iannone being replaced by rookie Joan Mir for 2019, Rins has been given the additional onus as lead rider in just his third year in the premier classs.

But both rider and team remain confident it can maintain its momentum into the new MotoGP season by retaining its development strategy from last year.

“When Andrea Iannone arrived with us he already had four years of experience and for this reason he was our reference point, especially at the beginning,” Brivio said. “Then the work we did in the next two years has been to try and help Alex Rins grow.

“It was our second experience with a rookie [the first being Maverick Vinales] and I must say that it is always a balance between technical aspects and mental coaching.

“Even though you know the rider is talented, there is still a lot of work to do and the whole team have to contribute, from the mechanics to the crew chief, the management, and the engineers. We all did a good job and we can all be satisfied with how we helped Alex to consistently fight for podium positions.

“We are working to create a top rider and this year we did a great step forward; the hardest part will be to do the final step which is to regularly fight for victory.”

Brivio also credits Guintoli’s influence in Suzuki’s progress in 2018 for providing an accurate development direction for both its race riders and the engineering team.

“We really appreciate the work done by Sylvain and the whole test team because they have had the chance to test some items in greater detail and give us a ‘best of’,” he said. “Also the items we were testing in Valencia and Jerez were already tested and selected by Sylvain, so then it was the turn of the factory riders.

“Sylvain has a lot of experience and is very sensitive to changes on the bike, his comments are always accurate which is really appreciated by the engineers.

“We will continue to work with him next year, because 2018 was our first year with a test team and we had to start developing this new approach; now we are ready to make another step and make their work easier, but also more efficient and productive for us.”



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