Suzuki’s MotoGP team boss hunt takes hit as Brivio stays with Alpine

Brivio helmed Suzuki from 2013 as he prepared it for its full-time MotoGP return in 2015, and helped guide the marque to its first MotoGP world title in 20 years when Joan Mir won the 2020 championship.

A talismanic figure for Suzuki, he dropped a bombshell on the eve of the 2021 MotoGP season when he announced he would be moving to Formula 1 as Alpine’s racing director.

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With no time to find a direct replacement, Suzuki elected to operate a seven-person management committee headed by project leader Shinichi Sahara.

Last year proved difficult for Suzuki, however, with neither of its riders winning a race for the first time since 2018 and Mir only able to finish the campaign third overall on a GSX-RR that underwent very little development.

Sahara admitted at the end of the season that dovetailing his role as GSX-RR project leader and de facto team boss proved too much for him.

Suzuki has been on the lookout for a new team manager for 2022, but Sahara revealed at the Sepang pre-season test in February that it was taking longer than hoped.

“I haven’t changed my mind, it’s just taking longer than I imagined,” Sahara told Autosport in Malaysia.

“We are still negotiating with several candidates, but we haven’t closed the deal yet.”

Shinichi Sahara, Team Suzuki MotoGP

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Autosport understands Sahara was awaiting for an answer from Brivio, whose role within Alpine looked uncertain as the outfit underwent a management reshuffle over the winter.

Amidst its change of management, Alpine announced on Thursday that Brivio will continue with the company as its Director of Racing Expansion Projects.

Suzuki now faces a problem as the number of options outside of Brivio remain scarce.

Former Ducati and Honda team boss Livio Suppo’s name has been linked to Suzuki.

However, with just two weeks to go until the start of the 2022 MotoGP season, time has now run out for the Japanese marque to get someone up to speed with how the team works before racing begins.


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