Team Suzuki Ecstar's Project Leader Shinichi Sahara knows he has two very promising riders in the shape of Alex Rins and Joan Mir, but how will he tackle 2020 with the boys in blue?
"The 2019 season was really good for us, we celebrated two victories with Alex Rins, and witnessed the quick progression of Joan Mir despite his injury. But to be truly honest, I was hoping for more podium finishes. Even the position in the team’s classification doesn’t completely reflect our true potential, so we have to work harder. I don’t believe we have to change the direction of the development because we have a well-balanced bike, but we need to upgrade and improve the performance overall".
Despite the desire to achieve more podiums and work ever harder, Sahara-san has been impressed by the ever-growing talent and fighting spirit possessed by the team’s lead rider, Alex Rins, this season.
“I like Alex’s attitude, because he is always ready to battle and he’s always able to improve on Sunday when it comes to the race - even when his qualifying position hasn’t been very good. This is the reason why we call him ‘Sunday Boy’! But to be honest, in 2020, I will need him to qualify better. I am pretty sure that if he can get better grid positions, better race results will come automatically. Of course, this is not only a matter of his riding, it also depends on the bike that we give him. We must take steps forward and give him support so he can achieve this improvement. That’s what we have in our plans.”
And what of Team Suzuki Ecstar’s youngster? Joan Mir was a rookie in 2019, but the Mallorcan impressed many people in the paddock with his mature approach, riding style, and quick improvements. Shinichi Sahara recognises the progression achieved by Mir in his debut season, and hopes to aim high in 2020...
“I have no doubt that Mir has the true potential to be a top rider in the near future. His crash and injury in Brno affected his performance during the second part of the season and cost him a lot. Despite all this he still got close to the podium in many races. Next year he won’t be a rookie anymore and he will benefit from one year of experience, which in turn will give him extra confidence.”