Over a year after Davide Brivio's departure, Livio Suppo has been named as Suzuki's new MotoGP team manager.

Suppo, who has previously overseen MotoGP titles for both Ducati and Honda, will return to the paddock for the first time since 2017 when he takes charge of the GSX-RR project from the Qatar season opener.

The Italian had made his interest in the Suzuki role clear when contacted by Crash.net in the aftermath of Brivio's surprise switch to F1 last January: "MotoGP has been my life for many years and sometimes I miss it. Let's see if Suzuki will call me, in which case I will listen to them and see!"

That call eventually came, but only after Suzuki endured a winless 2021 with reigning champion Joan Mir and team-mate Alex Rins.

By the end of last season, project leader Shinichi Sahara - who had been sharing Brivio's duties with a 'committee' of other team members – openly confessed the workload was too much and that he was actively searching for a new team manager for 2022.

When no announcement was made by the start of pre-season testing, Sahara admitted there had been 'delays' - possibly Brivio's decision to stay on in F1 -but insisted negotiations were continuing with unspecified individuals.

Those negotiations have finally been concluded and Suppo will now aim to become the first team manager in the modern era to oversee MotoGP race wins, and potentially world titles, for three different factories. But Suppo's first priority is likely to be securing the services of Mir for 2023 and beyond.

“I am very proud to become Suzuki Ecstar’s Team Manager and happy to re-join the MotoGP Championship after four years," Suppo said. "I’m also very honoured to be involved in this great project with Suzuki; for sure it will be a challenging task to be part of an historic manufacturer in MotoGP, who recently achieved the crown in 2020 in the year of their 100th anniversary.

"I also feel it will be a great experience to start working with two talented riders like Joan Mir and Alex Rins, both capable of fighting for the top in MotoGP. Sahara-san’s proposal came at the perfect time for me, I had been busy setting up my e-bike company but I was certainly missing the paddock and ready to come back. Racing has been my life for almost all my career and I will do my best to bring my experience to Team Suzuki Ecstar.

"I know they are a great team, but also a great group of humans, so this could help a lot to achieve our goals sooner. MotoGP nowadays is more and more exciting, with many very fast riders and competitive motorcycles from all manufacturers. It’s a difficult challenge for everybody involved, where all the small details can make the difference, I am ready to be part of the game again and give my all to be on top with Suzuki.”

"I'm confident that Livio is very well suited for the position, because he has a lot of experience and a big passion for winning," said Shinichi Sahara, who continues as project leader. "He understands how teams work and that team atmospheres are important when it comes to being competitive consistently during a season.

"Some of our crew members already have experience of working with him, and I’ve known him for a long time because he’s been in the paddock for many years. We’ve already seen promising signs and improvements in our performance during winter testing, and I believe Livio joining us will bolster our team further and we will become even stronger."

As well as his success as a factory team manager, Suppo's Ducati and Honda experience also includes how to supply and manage Independent teams for a satellite MotoGP project.

Of the six MotoGP manufacturers, only Suzuki and Aprilia are currently without a satellite team. Like Aprilia, Suzuki has repeatedly expressed interest in eventually having a customer team, given the benefits of extra track data and chance to develop young riders for a future in the factory team.

Suppo made his debut in the motorcycle grand prix paddock with Benetton in 1994, joining Ducati in 1999 and playing a major role in the formation and then operation of the factory's MotoGP team from its race-winning 2003 debut season.

Some shrewd decisions, such as an early switch to Bridgestone tyres and most notably the signing of Casey Stoner culminated in Ducati's only MotoGP title to date, by Stoner, in 2007.

Suppo was then head-hunted by Honda to lead its factory Repsol team in 2010, with Stoner re-joining Suppo the following year and immediately winning Honda's first title since Nicky Hayden in 2006.

After Stoner's surprise retirement at the end of 2012, Suppo celebrated four more world championships with Marc Marquez in 2013, 2014, 2016 and 2017 before deciding the time was right to leave MotoGP, albeit adding "never say never" as far as a possible return.

The 57-year-old had been working as a consultant for Thok Ebikes since leaving the paddock.