Despite scoring zero points in the opening round of the 2020 MotoGP season, Suzuki eventually established the speed and consistency that would carry them to the riders' and teams' titles.

Last year's double race winner Alex Rins didn't even start the Jerez Grand Prix after a dislocation to his shoulder in qualifying, while team-mate Joan Mir crashed out of 11th place on lap 2.

Both claimed their first points of the season the following weekend, but Mir was then taken out at Brno and began the opening Red Bull Ring round just 14th in the world championship, with only 11 out of a possible 75 points to his name. Rins was tenth and just 8 points better off.

Consistency had been the buzzword heading into the shortened 14-round season and many feared the Suzukis were already out of title contention. But it wasn't too late to recover.

Austria was the 'turning point' for Suzuki's season, Mir celebrating his first podium in the premier-class while Rins, empty-handed after a fall, had proved the GSX-RR could fight for the lead.

Riding a wave of confidence Mir then came close to winning the following weekend, leading when the race was stopped due to brake failure for Maverick Vinales, before delivering six podiums in the next seven races.

It was a critical phase in terms of the championship, the 118 points scored by Mir between Misano 1 and Valencia 1 comparing with 96 for next-best Rins and 85 for the top non-Suzuki rider, Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha).

Mir went on to win the title by a final advantage of 13 points over Morbidelli and 32 ahead of Rins.

"It's been a great year for us," said Suzuki team manager Davide Brivio.

"We started not so good in Jerez. In the first race we had zero points with both riders. So we started slowly and then the turning point was Austria when Joan got on the podium and, although Alex crashed, he was close to the lead in the race.

"Then we built up some consistency. Joan achieved the world championship and Alex was in the hunt for second position [until the end]. We're very happy.

"I think also what makes us happy and proud is that we were able to have double-podiums, with both riders on the podium, four times. It's a great signal of how strong the riders have become and that the bike is performing well."

Prior to 2020, the highest a Suzuki rider had been ranked in the MotoGP-era standings was fourth by Maverick Vinales in 2016.

"The biggest factor [this year] was probably the consistency," Brivio added, "because there were many different riders winning races and also constructors, for example Yamaha won more races than anybody else, but probably we were able to keep consistency. 11 times on the podium with our riders.

"It has been a strange season and also a little bit different game in my opinion because many times we had three races in a row, which we were not so much used to, but it was okay.

"But especially from the technical point of view, the double race on the same circuit, which changed a little bit the game compared to what we are used to.

"Maybe the first race weekend you have to quickly adapt the bike and on the second normally everybody comes much closer. So the competition is even harder. That was something that makes this season also different compared to normal. We are happy that we achieved the title."

The provisional 2021 calendar does not contain any back-to-back races at the same circuit, but few would be surprised if ongoing Covid restrictions mean such double-headers return this season in place of some of the scheduled rounds...

Provisional 2021 MotoGP Calendar

Round

Date

Race

Circuit

1

28 March

Qatar

Losail

2

11 April

Argentina

Termas de Rio Hondo

3

18 April

Americas

COTA

4

2 May

Spain

Jerez

5

16 May

France

Le Mans

6

30 May

Italy

Mugello

7

6 June

Catalunya

Barcelona

8

20 June

Netherlands

Assen

9

27 June

Germany

Sachsenring

10

11 July

Finland*

KymiRing

11

 

To Be Decided

 

12

15 August

Austria

Red Bull Ring

13

29 August

Great Britain

Silverstone

14

12 September

Aragon

Aragon

15

19 September

San Marino e Della Riviera di Rimini

Misano

16

3 October

Japan

Motegi

17

10 October

Thailand

Buriram

18

24 October

Australia

Phillip Island

19

31 October

Malaysia

Sepang

20

14 November

Comunitat Valenciana

Ricardo Tormo