Team SUZUKI ECSTAR has today presented its new MotoGPTM project at the Sepang International Circuit as a foreword to the kick-off for the season, which officially starts tomorrow with the first IRTA test of the year here in Malaysia.
The Japanese team, led by Davide Brivio as Team Manager, Satoru Terada as Project Leader and Ken Kawauchi as Technical Manager, will begin the third season in the top category of motorcycling. After two seasons of creation, hard work and development, 2017 will be a crucial exercise in which Team SUZUKI ECSTAR seeks to become one of the best teams in the World Championship.
Pursuing that goal this year, it has renewed its line-up of riders with the acquisition of the Italian Andrea Iannone and young Spaniard Alex Rins, coming from the Moto2 category. The GSX-RR 1000 will be contending among the top machines of the world again with a good basis and many improvements Suzuki wants to enhance the performance.
Iannone, born in Vasto (Italy) 28 years ago, debuted in the premier class in 2013 with the Ducati Pramac and from the beginning he showed his credentials with an extreme, aggressive and exuberant ride that served him well, respect of his rivals and this permitted him to be amongst the fastest riders in the world. Four years later, and after winning his first race in the category last year in Austria, Team SUZUKI ECSTAR wants to be the launch pad for Andrea to aim for new targets and to be able to regularly fight with the top riders for podium positions.
On the other side of the box will be Rins, a 21-year-old Barcelona teenager who begins his adventure among the world's best motorcycle riders. With a natural talent for riding, and several times as a runner-up in the lower-class categories, Rins looks to 2017 as a year of learning in the premier class to get the experience to fight for higher goals in the coming years.
Team SUZUKI ECSTAR, based in Hamamatsu city, is one of the most popular teams in the MotoGP category. The racing history of the Japanese factory is a tale of success from the 70’s when legendary British rider Barry Sheene achieved his first 500cc crown in 1976. Then the legacy was taken by other famous names such as Marco Lucchinelli, Franco Uncini, Kevin Schwantz and Kenny Roberts Jr. who added a total of six 500cc titles. The very latest success happened last year when the team scored victory at Silverstone in the UK.
ANDREA IANNONE #29:
“I’m really happy to start this new adventure! Suzuki for me has always been an icon of motorcycle racing and I hope to gain the affection of fans and enthusiasts as the great riders who have been part of the history of this great team! The coming season is a big challenge, but at the same a huge motivation for me after some years riding for the same brand. This change of direction in my career is so stimulating and I’m eager to return Suzuki with all the interest and affection they have demonstrated to me. I look forward to kicking-off the new season with the new blue colors and do my best to try to achieve the best results possible for the team!”
ALEX RINS #42:
“The main objective of any rider in the world is to reach the MotoGP category because it is the maximum expression of motorcycling. Then doing it with the hand of Suzuki is the best way I could ever have imagined. The team is amazing at the very first sight and the treatment they have given me since the first minute is fantastic. The bike is awesome as well so I am very pleased, very motivated and very grateful to Suzuki for the trust placed in me. It's going to be a fantastic year in which we will learn a lot and that’s our main goal from the beginning. The Valencia accident was a setback in our plans, but we are working very hard to counteract it. I'm looking forward to getting back on my Suzuki GSX-RR and meeting my new ‘family’ in the box"
“This season is going our third season after coming back to MotoGP and we have so many expectations for that. We worked really hard to improve and develop the bike during last two years and we could see the results coming out throughout 2016, so we feel happy checking out the direction we took was the correct one. Now we are pretty focused on 2017 and with the same hunger. We think we’ve got a really good GSX-RR base for the coming season and we have to still improve in some areas like electronics, but overall we are satisfied. We are keen to see how our performance is at this very first test of 2017 in Sepang and compare with our rivals where we are. Furthermore, I would like to welcome our new riders Andrea and Alex to the team. Hopefully together we will do a nice job!”
“The 2017 season will be important for us because it is already the third consecutive season since returning to MotoGP. We are no longer rookies so we must try to get closer to the other rivals. In addition, we have as a great incentive two new riders. I think Andrea Iannone is mature and is ready to achieve great goals if we are able to give him a good package with the bike. And in the other side of the garage Alex Rins, with whom we started a new adventure, a young driver with great talent and we will try to guide him to the top of MotoGP. This is why we are looking at an interesting season, but we know it will be difficult because all the teams have been very strong. It looks like 2017 will be a crucial year for everyone for different reasons, so we will face a very strong group of opponents. But we want to be with them, we want to try to be in the fight and get closer to the top, so we must try with Andrea at the first moment and, once he gains experience, I think Alex will be in a position to do so.”