It can’t be said that Suzuki is having a great year. The Japanese team is living the season anecdotally in anticipation of its withdrawal from the competition.
Everything was going well. In Qatar, many observers were surprised when a GSX-RR overtook a Ducati on the main straight. It started a kind of madness, given the potential of the machine. Joan Mir i Alex Rins finished 6th and 7th, respectively, which isn’t too bad for the usual standards in the crosshairs of Losail. The first series have been correct: Álex Rins seemed to come out of his bad patch and has returned to the podium, twice, while Mir has been 4th. But from Portugal, nothing.
The two Spaniards spend the season, offering nothing. At Mans and the Mugello, the training lists two consecutive white results. Ironically, you have to go back to the 2003 French and Italian Grand Prix to find such a poor record in two races, with Kenny Roberts Jr. i John Hopkins on the handlebars. To make matters worse, Rins is mowed down Takaaki Nakagami in Catalonia and is injured.
It’s not the multiple abandonments that make the performance sad, but it’s the way Suzuki reacts, or no longer reacts. In Barcelona, Mir spoke of this loss of motivation in very harsh terms, after the classification 17th -: “We’re in a routine.”
Raising Mir in 2019 was daring. Suzuki met two young men, as fiery and abused as possible. This warlike mood was also rewarded with a title in 2020. Today, the duo is no longer incisive, it has lost its freshness. And it’s not prettier in detail. Joan Mir was counting 134 points after 11 Grand Prix last year, and 137 in 2020. After Assen, he points to 77 units, the largest gross loss among civil servants in year-on-year terms (even ahead of Viñales). He still has no podium, no better lap or pole, an exercise in which he has always sinned. Its consistency was its asset, but it is no longer so. Four times, Mir failed to score points (Miller took him to Portugal). It is already more than their stations 2019, 2020 and 2021.
Even when it’s over, it’s not as competitive as it used to be. During his holy year, he brought it back 15.5 points on average every time he crossed the line, and even took that total to 19.18 in 2021, only against 11 This year. If he dominated Rins considerably, this is no longer the case. When the two drivers finish the race (i.e. in six cases), Mir overtakes his teammate. three times. Last year, after 11 days, Joan dominated 5 to 1. So certainly the bike plays an important role, but those numbers are significant. Especially because Rins is working better than last year. At this stage of the season, he was counting 42 points versus 75 today, with the same number of blank results (5). When it’s over, mark 10.71 points on average – counting his poor performance from Jerez, 19th without falling – only against 8.4 last year. A clear progression that further highlights Mir’s poor form.
What does this bring us? A 6th team in the standings, drivers in the soft belly of the championship, with a declining former world champion and a promising talent that is slowly being rebuilt, but still too erratic. We have to wait for a rebound, because the end of the season could be longer than expected …
What do you think of Suzuki this year? Is this the biggest disappointment of this 2022 season?
Cover photo: Michelin Motorsport