Suzuki MotoGP project leader Shinichi Sahara has admitted the departure of team manager Davide Brivio, two months after leading the factory to its first premier-class title since 2000, came as 'shocking news'.

Brivio - who has now overseen five MotoGP titles, four with Valentino Rossi at Yamaha plus Joan Mir's 2020 world championship success - is set to take up a senior role at Renault's rebranded Alpine F1 team.

That is still to be announced, but Suzuki has now officially confirmed that Brivio is leaving the team he helped assemble for the factory's 2015 MotoGP return with its new GSX-RR machine.

Suzuki had claimed just one victory during its first chapter in MotoGP, with the GSV-R motorcycle from 2002 to 2011, but has already enjoyed five victories with three different riders (Maverick Vinales, Alex Rins and Mir) under Brivio's leadership, as well as winning last year's riders' and teams' titles.

“Sincerely, it was shocking news for us about Davide’s departure from Team Suzuki Ecstar," Sahara said. "It feels like somebody took a part of me, because I always discussed with him how to develop the team and the bikes, and we’ve worked together for a long time.

"In 2020 we achieved fantastic results despite the unusual and difficult situation due to Covid-19. And 2021 will be an even more important year for us to keep the momentum.

"Now we are trying to find the best way to cover for the ‘Davide loss’. Luckily in most cases I have had quite a similar way of thinking to him, therefore it is not so difficult to keep the direction we should go as Team Suzuki Ecstar, I think.

"We would like to wish him the best of luck for the future.”

Suzuki's first track outing without Brivio is set to be next month's Sepang test.



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