Deflated after dropping back from the all-Ducati podium battle at Valencia, former MotoGP champion Joan Mir went into the MotoGP winter break cautiously optimistic after trying the latest Suzuki developments at the Jerez test.

The Spaniard was ranked 14th on day one, then sixth on day two, as he tried not only the new 2022-spec GSX-RR engine but also a new chassis, swingarm and fairing.

It was an encouraging response after a season in which Suzuki lagged behind the developments made by its rivals, including the late introduction of a rear ride-height device, and failed to win a race for the first time since 2018.

"Yes, I feel that something is changing in a good way, there's a lot of work on the part of Suzuki, they are doing a great job," Mir said.

"I hope this winter to confirm that and [that they can complete] everything well, because this test is important, but it is even more important this time at home [for the factory] to understand everything correctly.

"I'm optimistic about the work that they're doing."

Mir added: "In this test we could try some new things. It's true that with the windy conditions, you don't see the real performance. But the feelings are OK. I'm pleased with how everything is going.

"It will be really important now what they will bring to the next test. But the progress is good. I'm happy. For sure, if you ask me at the first test next year, I will be able to answer in a better way. But at the moment I'm positive, I'm optimistic."

The end of the Covid technical freeze means the chance to upgrade engine design for the first time since 2020. And with the Suzuki riders, like those at Yamaha, complaining of difficulty passing the Ducatis, more power to the ground is a priority.

"It's not that we found a revolution of the engine, but there's more power. So it's positive, I'm happy," Mir said. "Now it's time to work to have the horsepower on the ground, to avoid wheelies. Also we worked on the power delivery and everything.

"The power is important, but it's also important to use the power in the correct way.

"It will be important to make some steps forward on the [ride height] device side, the aerodynamics, and all this stuff that helps us to get the horsepower on the ground, and getting the horsepower on the ground is even more important than to find horsepower."

The chassis tests had been less conclusive.

"We tried a different chassis, just to try to understand, and on the brakes it looks like it is positive, but then we are missing something in other areas," Mir said. "It's interesting, but there's more work to do with what we have, for sure."

Meanwhile the ride-height device continues to evolve as Suzuki seeks to match the kind of 'automatic' system - activated by the rider on corner entry, but self-lowering on corner exit - used by the leading Ducati design.

"The device is still under development, we know that we have to develop it for next year," Mir said. "It's something that is in constant development."

Mir's team-mate Alex Rins finished the final day of testing third fastest behind Ducati's Francesco Bagnaia and Yamaha's new world champion Fabio Quartararo.

"We worked with the new engine, some new fairings, general set-up, swingarm, many things!" Rins said. "And we’re happy with how things are going, especially with the engine which seems to have more speed and power.

"After a back-to-back comparison with the 2022 engine and the 2021 engine, we can feel that we have made a very important step.”

Underlining Suzuki's increased efforts was the presence of both its test riders, Sylvain Guintoli and Takuya Tsuda.

“We are going through a period of intense testing now, with many days spent on track as we have many items to try," said Guintoli. "Tsuda and I are doing a lot of work to deliver Joan and Alex some good options, and it looks like they are giving important improvements.

"Suzuki has worked on many, many items such as engine, chassis, fairings, electronics and other smaller details. Some of them are big changes, others are minor, but overall there is a lot to try.

"We have positive feelings on the bike, despite the tough conditions today, we feel like we are heading in a good way and we expect to have further improvements after winter.”

Suzuki, without a team manager since Davide Brivio departed for F1 in January, is yet to announce the identity of the Italian's successor.

Shinichi Sahara, Project Leader and Team Director, recently said they are in the 'final stages' of finding the new team manager for 2022. Although Sahara has played down the rumours of a Brivio return, until Suzuki names someone else, many believe Brivio remains firmly in the mix.