After leading Suzuki to its first MotoGP title since 2000, multiple publications are reporting that team manager Davide Brivio is to leave the project for a senior role at Renault’s rebranded Alpine F1 team.
Asked for comment, Suzuki told Crash.net they can neither confirm or deny the reports, but an official statement on Brivio’s departure is now widely expected within the next few days.
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.
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 a suitable 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 a multi-title-winning team manager who might be on Suzuki’s radar.
The Alpine F1 team will field returning double world champion Fernando Alonso alongside Esteban Ocon this season.