Davide Brivio has confirmed he is exiting both the Suzuki Ecstar team and MotoGP as a whole ahead of a widely anticipated move to take on a new role in F1.
After leading Suzuki to its first MotoGP title since 2000, multiple publications had reported that team manager Davide Brivio is to leave the project for a senior role at Renault’s rebranded Alpine F1 team.
Though his whereabouts remains unconfirmed, Brivio’s Suzuki exit is now assured, the Italian revealing he made the difficult personal decision because it represents a brand new challenge for him professionally.
“A new professional challenge and opportunity suddenly came to me and in the end I decided to take it. It has been a difficult decision. The hardest part will be to leave this fabulous group of people, whom I started this project with when Suzuki rejoined the Championship. And it’s hard to say goodbye also to all the people who have arrived over the years to create this great Team.
“I feel sad from this point of view, but at the same time I feel a lot of motivation for this new challenge – which was the key when I had to decide between renewing my contract with Suzuki or starting a completely new experience.
“Achieving a MotoGP title is something that will remain in the Suzuki history books and it will always have a special place in my life memories. I would like to deeply thank all the Suzuki management for their trust and confidence in me, which they had since the beginning. I would like to thank every single member of our MotoGP group in Japan and at the track, all the Suzuki network, and of course all the riders who rode for the Team in this period, especially Joan and Alex who did a great 2020 season.
“Joan becoming World Champion was a dream come true for me and for all the people who worked hard and accompanied me on this magnificent journey. I wish the best to Team Suzuki MotoGP, I hope that the results in the future will be better and better and I will always be a Suzuki fan. Thanks very much Suzuki!”
Brivio was one of the key people to convince Valentino Rossi to make a shock move from Honda to Yamaha at the end of the 2003 season, serving as The Doctor’s team manager during his title-winning years on the M1.
Both then left Yamaha at the end of 2010, with Brivio working as a VR46 consultant before taking up the Suzuki offer ahead of the factory’s 2015 MotoGP return.
Suzuki’s loss, F1’s gain?
The amiable Italian is especially highly regarded for bridging the often troublesome gap between a Japanese factory and European race team, signing rising stars such as Maverick Vinales, Alex Rins and new world champion Joan Mir, and creating a strong sense of team spirit (very few team members chose to leave Suzuki).
All of which has ultimately helped Suzuki succeed against much better-funded rivals, winning both the riders’ and teams’ titles in 2020.
“I think Brivio made a fantastic job, because he’s able to fuse the work from Japan with very strong work in Italy,” Rossi said of Suzuki’s MotoGP success this year. “Especially he’s able to convince the Japanese to work together with the Europeans and they make a very strong team.”
“Ken Kawauchi [technical manager], Davide Brivio, and I have a good relationship and we move in the same direction,” Suzuki project leader Shinichi Sahara said recently. “We have great communication among everybody.”
Finding an experienced replacement for Brivio at short notice (pre-season testing starts next month) would be no easy task, but ex-Ducati and Honda boss Livio Suppo is one person who might be on Suzuki’s radar.
The Alpine F1 team will field returning double world champion Fernando Alonso alongside Esteban Ocon this season.