Suzuki team manager Davide Brivio insists the factory never wavered from its strategy to retain both Alex Rins and Joan Mir for the next two seasons.

Brivio also made that position clear when talking to managers of other riders and, as such, no 'proper' alternative negotiations took place.

Rins, a double race-winner last season, was officially announced as staying for a further two seasons on April 19. Mir, preparing for his second MotoGP campaign, had his contract extension confirmed on May 2.

"Honestly, we never really thought about replacing them or having a Plan B," Brivio said.

"Of course, our paddock is a small community and I know all the MotoGP rider managers. I meet them many times during the year and chat with all of them: Alzamora, Battistella, Mahe, Paco Sanchez - who is also Joan Mir's manager…

"Maybe they ask, 'how is your situation with your rider? I got this question many times and said "Our target is to confirm Alex and Joan," and they would say "OK, let me know, keep me informed," things like that.

"So let's say, if something would have gone wrong, maybe it was easy to pick up the telephone and call somebody. But we never really arrived at any negotiations or any plan with any of them.

"I was also more-or-less aware of what everybody else was doing - you know that Márquez is going to stay, that Quartararo was going to renew with Yamaha, that Viñales wanted to stay, but also [spoke with] Ducati.

"As our target was to keep Alex and Joan, I could not really start a proper negotiation or discussion [with anyone else]. But I think I was quite well informed; I had the information I needed about everybody to react in case of any problems."

Brivio confirmed rumours that Mir's deal was simplified due to an option in his contract, a lesson Suzuki learned when they gave Maverick Vinales his MotoGP break only to see the Spaniard poached by Yamaha for 2017.

"Joan always showed his interest to stay," Brivio said. "And with Joan it was a little bit easier, because we had an option. So we could exercise an option and with Joan we were a little bit more relaxed.

"Alex was already showing interest to remain with us 12 months ago. It took a long time inside the company to get the signature of top management. It's only bureaucratic. We had been in agreement for a long time. But I'm the first person to say, until I see the signature on the paper, I'm not sure.

"It's a bit difficult to explain, but how our company works, it was a little bit weird and strange to go to our president in May, June or July 2019 and to say, 'We have to sign an agreement for 2021'.

"We had to wait for the right time according to our company procedure. In 2019, you are still thinking about the 2020 season, then when the 2020 season is about to start, you can start to talk about 2021, things like that. But let's say in our mind, we had already agreed with Alex.

"So we're very happy because we achieved our target. Alex has already showed he can win races and that he's among the top riders in MotoGP. And Joan, I think, has the potential to reach that level."

Given Suzuki's interest in continuing a long-term partnership with both its young riders, did they ever consider a four-year deal, as agreed between Honda and reigning champion Marc Marquez?

"We never thought about such a long contract. But honestly, Márquez signing a four-year contract is a kind of unusual thing, kind of a surprise, no?" Brivio said. "We are used to two-year agreements, and that's what we think about.

"Our intention is to keep going as long as possible with Alex and Joan, Alex also said many times he would like to have a long career with Suzuki. And of course, we will have to continue to provide a competitive bike, or they will look somewhere else.

"So let's say, in this moment there were no obstacles or no problem to signing a longer contract. I'm afraid that probably for our company, to sign a four-year agreement would be something a little bit special. So maybe it would have been more difficult to discuss and explain.

"But let's go step by step, and I hope to sign another two-year agreement for 2023 and 2024 again with Alex and Joan. I would be very happy to do that."

Having joined only Yamaha in firming up its 2021 factory team line-up, Suzuki's focus is now on putting both riders inside MotoGP's top group.

"Our target is to have two riders who can stay in the top five-six positions in the championship and play within those positions - it can first, it can be third, it can be fourth, it can be second, it can be sixth.

"Everybody knows the other riders are strong. But our target is to put two of our riders into that group, have them fighting there, and see what happens…"

Rins finished a career-best fourth in last year's world championship, with Mir twelfth overall after missing two rounds due to injury.

 

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