Suzuki hat die MotoGP-Rakete GSX-RR für Joan Mir und Alex Rins für 2021 vorgestellt, bei der Monster als Sponsor neu an Bord ist. 19 Rennen stehen auf dem Programm, am 28. März startet die MotoGP-Action in Katar, das Finale ist für den 14. November 2021 eingeplant.
Shinichi Sahara – Project Leader/Team Director: “2020 was a fantastic season for us, as winning World title for the rider and the Team. This 2021 season will be a challenging one for us, as we are aiming to achieve even better result than last year, but I’m confident that we will be able to take on this important role and fight to get great results. Due to the Covid restrictions it is going to be another very strange season, and the freezing of the engine development leaves us with fewer areas to adjust and work on, so the level of competition will be just as high as last year. For sure we are facing a new era in our team, with the new organisation that we had to put in place: so I will be more present at the races, and I will be supported by all the team members in their respective responsibilities. We have grown a mature and solid team so I am fully confident that together we will find the best way to be efficient and effective. Both Joan Mir and Alex Rins have done a lot of winter preparation, they arrive motivated and determined ahead of this new season, so we will give our 100% to provide them with the best conditions and tools to perform well and fight for top positions.”
Joan Mir: “This new season seems like it will be a thrilling one with a lot of quick contenders. Despite winning last year I don’t consider myself as the ‘favourite’ for this season, because I believe that there is still a lot of work to do and big results to achieve. But nevertheless, I come into 2021 as ‘the man to beat’, and for sure there is some pressure surrounding that. Honestly I don’t mind it – I see it as a positive thing because pressure has always given me an extra push rather than holding me back. Again it is going to be a strange season with this Covid pandemic and all the travel restrictions, but I do hope that things will go better and better not only for us, the MotoGP family, but also for all our fans around the world. I left my GSX-RR last year with very good feelings, the limitations on the development prevented big steps of improvement, but I’m confident that the R&D department in Suzuki and our track engineers and mechanics have found some steps to improve.”
Alex Rins: “All winter I’ve been looking forward to getting back on track! I have done a lot of training, especially with my track bike, but nothing actually beats riding my GSX-RR. I think this year could be a great one for us, we have a strong team and a strong bike. We’re more motivated than ever, and we know that our bike is able to win so we’re ready to fight. The calendar is quite full, despite everything, and there are many fast riders, so building a consistent campaign will be the key as always.”
JOAN MIR, BIO: Place of Birth Palma de Mallorca, Date of Birth 1 September 1997, Weight 69 kg, Height 181 cm. Race Wins 12, Podiums 27. Poles 2, Fastest Laps 6, World Championship Wins 2. Hobbies Ski, Skimo, Cycling. Likes Racing cars and sailing. Dislikes Losing time or doing nothing. Favourite Movie Gladiator. Favourite Food Japanese. Favourite Circuit Phillip Island
CAREER: Joan Mir Mayrata (Palma de Mallorca, 1997) has not had the archetypal career path into MotoGP. In fact, his beginnings in motorcycling came much later than that of his rivals in the road racing. His first motorcycle was a Polini when he was 6 years old, until he received a small Honda QR as a gift one year later. But unusually, his family didn’t have an excessive fervour for bikes – everyone around him was more into off-road riding than on track, and most were enthusiastic about other sports. His father Joan, in fact, owns a skating shop in Mallorca, so little Joan grew up surrounded by skateboard decks.
It was not until he saw his cousin Joan Perelló, who was in the Stop & Go team in the World Championship, that he became fascinated with speed. An admirer of his countryman Rafael Nadal, Joan admitted in an interview that “like Rossi, I do not look up to anyone”. And yet, paradoxically, his first experience of racing at the track arrived at Chicho Lorenzo’s school, where he remained for a year. From there he moved to the Balearic Motorcycling Federation’s school in 2009. There someone discovered that Joan had more to offer than just his enthusiastic smile. It’s also where he met Daniel Vadillo, who advises him and has accompanied him to each race since then. “We saw that he had something different,” recalls Dani.
EARLY VICTORIES: He then started the adventure of the Bankia Cup in the XL 160 category, in 2011. The Mallorcan won the crown with two races left before the championship came to a permanent close. Then came the MotoGP PreGP 125 Cup, the next step in the arduous climb to the World Championship, and Joan did not hold back, securing another title. In 2012, Joan headed to the Red Bull Rookies Cup where he completed two seasons; 2013-2014. During the first year of adaptation, the Balearic rider finished 9th in the general standings while in the second year he finished runner-up after a very close battle with Spaniard Jorge Martín.
FIGHTING FOR AN OPPORTUNITY: A somewhat turbulent 2015 arrived, in which some challenging circumstances arose. Joan, already prepared to start his career in the FIM CEV Championship, was left out because the Leopard Racing team cancelled the project at the last moment. Joan and his entourage got in touch with rider manager Paco Sánchez, and he helped the youngster to complete the CEV championship with a Ioda bike in the Team Machado but finally supported by Leopard Racing team. Then, just as the season was reaching its end and Joan was on vacation, he received a call from Leopard Racing team again, they wanted him to replace Japan’s Hiroki Ono, injured, at the Australian Grand Prix. A wild card appearance that was worth its weight in gold. After a low key debut Joan, who was 15th on the grid at Phillip Island, got a rocket start and placed himself in the lead group, but crashed out whilst in 4th. He had nevertheless left his mark.
Leopard recognised his achievement and recruited him for the 2016 season.
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP SPOT AND TITLE: And so it was that the World Championship officially welcomed Joan Mir in 2016. And he quickly proved his worth; in Austria Joan surprised everyone with a superb race that gave him his first victory and his debut podium in the category. He finished the championship in fifth position, as Rookie of the Year, after getting three podiums, one pole, and two fastest laps. It turned out to be the perfect warm up for the 2017 season – 10 wins, 13 podiums, and a dominant title campaign. His strength and talent were clear and the Mallorcan won the Moto3 crown. An ideal way to graduate to Moto2…
MOTO 2: He entered Moto2 with Team EG 0,0 Marc VDS. Adapting quickly, Joan seemed competitive from the beginning and onlookers sensed a podium was coming. He did indeed secure his first Moto2 podium in France, and soon after in Italy. However, his promising start fizzled out a little for various reasons. All in all, Joan finished the season in 6th position and was awarded as Rookie of the Year just one day before testing in Valencia – his first experience riding the GSX-RR with the Team SUZUKI ECSTAR.
MOTOGP CLIMB: Joan’s debut season in MotoGP in 2019 saw him adapting quickly to the Suzuki way of working, and he said his introduction to the team was like “finding a second family”. At his first race, in Qatar, he achieved a great 8th place. He went on to score a further nine Top 10 finishes, despite a debilitating mid-season injury which saw him miss two rounds. Joan returned to secure his best result, an impressive 5th place, in Thailand, he then backed this up with two further 5th place finishes in the last two races of the season in Malaysia and Spain. He completed his rookie season 12th in the Championship standings. With his focus on adjusting his riding style to better suit the GSX-RR’s own strengths, the youngster was ambitious and aiming high for the 2020 season.
100 YEARS CHAMPION: In a unique and strange season deeply marked by the threat of Covid-19, Team Suzuki Ecstar and Joan Mir kept their focus on racing. 2020 also marked Suzuki’s 100th anniversary and 60 years in competition. Despite the season getting off to a tricky start with a couple of DNFs, Joan bounced back quickly and continued to learn the traits of his GSX-RR with maturity and determination. A 2nd place finish at the fourth round in Austria set the tone for the remainder of the season, and before long the young rider from Mallorca found himself in title contention. A string of solid results culminated in a superb win at the European GP in Valencia and just one week later, at the same circuit, Joan took his first MotoGP crown in style, becoming Suzuki’s first champion for 20 years.
Alex Rins, BIO: Place of Birth Barce-lona. Date 8.12.95, Weight 72 kg, Height 176 cm. Race Wins 15. Podiums 52. Poles 17
Fastest Laps 16. Hobbies: Rollerblade, Skimo, Cycling. Likes Rallying and GT Racing
Dislikes Doing nothing. Fav Movie Creed.
Favourite Food Pizza & pasta.
Favourite Circuit: Phillip Island, Misano Aragon
Álex Rins was born on December 8th, 1995 in Barcelona, Spain to Rafael and Victoria. His first contact with the world of motorsport occurred very early in his life, as is so often the case with riders in World Championship racing! The first time he had a go on a motorised machine, Álex was only three. It was in 1998, when he was able to ride a quad that he had been given as a present. It was only his first try, but it would leave a significant and permanent mark on him.
Three years later, in 2001, a couple of friends of his father, Rafa, encouraged him to put Álex on a motorcycle just as a test. Rafa put his son on a Lem when he was four, and it seems that experience changed the rest of his life. It was enough to make him finally park the quad and start to dream of owning his own bike. Because of his insistence, Rins fulfilled his dream two years later and his parents ended up buying him a 50cc KTM motocross bike. On the Constantí circuit he nurtured his passion and began to train with his motorcycle. The following year, in 2003, thanks in great part to Montse Costa, he was able to participate in the Catalan and Aragonese Championships, obtaining a victory in the latter.
FROM REGIONAL TO NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS: His true love for circuit racing began in 2005, when Álex debuted in this discipline competing in the last three events of the Promo 50cc calendar. Two years later Álex rounded off a masterful season by winning the Catalan 80cc Championship, the 70cc Promo, the Mediterranean 80cc Championship, and the 12 hours of Vic Endurance. Fast forward to 2008 – a year of discovery for Rins. After an excellent season in the Championship of Cataluña and in the Mediterranean in Pre125GP, someone important became aware of his talent…
Emilio Alzamora, former 125cc World Champion, fortuitously met Álex at the Almeria circuit and offered him his first ever contract, to enroll in the structure of the Monlau School. At the age of 14, he entered the Spanish Speed Championship (CEV) and during his first race he impressed everyone. In 2010 Álex defeated more mature riders like Maverick Viñales and Miguel Oliveira, and achieved his first victory. He would go on to close the season with a fantastic third place. Álex Rins developed a reputation for being able to fight for victory in every race. His burgeoning talent secured sponsorship from a real giant; Repsol, who chose to gamble on him for even greater challenges.
Expectations grew and the pressure to win increased during the Spanish Championship (CEV) of 2011. Nevertheless, Álex knew how to control it, he rose to the occasion, and was crowned Champion with two victories and three podiums places in seven races. In addition, he completed an incredible season by becoming European runner-up, surpassed only by Italy’s Romano Fenati. When he was 16 years old, he held the Spanish title and was a European runner-up, and in 2012 an opportunity in the Moto3 World Championship became available to him. With the support of Repsol and Estrella Galicia, Álex made the leap to Moto3 riding a Honda bike. Two races were enough to get his first Pole Position in Jerez, and only four to get his first win at Le Mans, where he proved that people who had bet on him had not been wrong. With a slightly inferior motorcycle and on circuits that he did not know, he demonstrated his greatness in races. All the effort and hard work from the team led him to get 141 points in the World Championship. He earned the well-deserved 2012 Rookie of the Year title in Moto3 and finished fifth in the final standings.
ARRIVAL IN THE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP: A few months later, in 2013, the Barcelona rider began to truly dedicate himself to the sport. With a more competitive bike and the experience of a year in the World Championships behind him, he only had to concentrate on the task at hand; fighting for the title until the very last race in the tightest finish in the history of the championship. Álex visited the podium in almost all the races, obtained six victories and eight pole positions. Everything was at stake with Luis Salom and Maverick Viñales and it was the latter who finally tasted glory in Valencia. But seldom has a young man achieved what Álex Rins had in just his second year within the World Championship. He had six victories and got pole position eight times.
In 2014 he left his reliable KTM and opted for the brand new Honda, a big question mark. At the conclusion of the season he secured third position in the final standings. Shortly thereafter it became public that during the 2015 season he would make the jump to Moto 2 with the Páginas Amarillas HP40 Team, managed by former 250cc World Champion Sito Pons. The year ended with the balance sheet at two wins and six podiums.
GROWING UP: In Moto2 he didn’t let anyone down. In his first year, Álex was more than successful, closing the season with the runner-up title and again receiving the Rookie of the Year title. His performances improved race by race and he finished the year with a total of ten podiums, five second places, and two victories in Australia and Indianapolis, plus three poles in his first season in Moto2. A year later all eyes were focused on Álex and Johann Zarco, the reigning World Champion. Until the middle of the season he was fighting for the title with the French rider but several inopportune falls and a shoulder injury drastically reduced his chances to fight for the crown. He concluded the season with third position and a total of seven podiums, with two victories and one pole position.
REIGNING CLASS: 2017 marked his debut in the MotoGP class, joining as a Factory Rider with Team SUZUKI ECSTAR. It turned out to be a baptism of fire for the Spaniard, who was hit by injuries in the pre-season test, in winter training, and – most costly of all – in Friday Free Practice in Texas, where he broke his right wrist. His recovery took 5 races, and when he finally got back on his GSX-RR in Assen he had to re-start his whole approach to MotoGP. His growth since that moment was consistent and fast, allowing him to be fully prepared for a much happier 2018 season.
The 2018 season, Álex’s second in MotoGP, was much smoother sailing with fewer injuries and a much more competitive GSX-RR. Rins started with a bang in Argentina, taking his first MotoGP podium (3rd place). This led him to an outstanding second half of the season with three 2nd places (Netherlands, Malaysia and Valencia) and one 3rd place in Japan – an especially important podium in front of Suzuki Motor Corporation’s President Mr. Toshihiro Suzuki. He closed the year in a great 5th place in the standings.
MAKING HIS MARK: Last season Álex was finally able to confirm his place among the true front runners in the Championship, even leading the way early in the year. After scoring 4th and 5th in the first two races of the season, Álex took a superb victory at the Circuit of the Americas, backing it up with a 2nd place in Spain three weeks later. His own confidence, coupled with the increased competitiveness of the 2019 GSX-RR, allowed him to achieve a strong season – marred only by a couple of crashes mid-way through the Championship. Álex scored eleven Top 5 finishes, and a second stunning win in Great Britain cemented his and Suzuki’s status as true contenders. His consistent year saw him end 2019 with a very respectable 4th place in the rankings. Rins enters 2020, his fourth season with Suzuki, with more determination and self-belief than ever, ready to fight for the top positions at every race.
BATTLING BACK: 2020 season wasn’t not only marred by Covid-19 but also by injury for Álex Rins. A nasty shoulder injury was sustained by the rider in qualifying for the opening round and it would continue to cost him as he underwent a lengthy recovery and suffered with pain. However, by the San Marino GP he was already gaining ground as he placed 5th in the race. He continued to show great strength and perseverance and climbed onto the podium at the Catalan GP in the season’s midpoint. A superb win in Aragon put him into title contention with his team-mate, Joan Mir, and he took a further two podiums in his quest for a top finish. Despite a difficult season closer, Álex took a brilliant 3rd in the championship standings, helping Team Suzuki Ecstar to achieve the Team’s Championship.