Davide Brivio Leaves Suzuki For F1 Role

Less than two months after winning Suzuki's first MotoGP championship in 20 years, Davide Brivio has decided to leave his role as manager of the Suzuki Ecstar MotoGP team and move to lead the Alpine F1 team in four-wheel racing's premier class. The move was reported last night by Autosport and confirmed by a press release from Suzuki this morning.

The move comes as a massive shock to Suzuki and the MotoGP world. It is also a serious blow to Suzuki's MotoGP project. Brivio was instrumental in putting the team together to run Suzuki's return to MotoGP in 2015. Brivio joined Suzuki in 2013, at the very beginning of the project which launched the GSX-RR upon the world, and has overseen the team's steady success.

Brivio has been a key player in finding and hiring the staff for the team, as well as being the main driver behind Suzuki's philosophy of trying to hire and develop young talent and turn them into champions. That choice was proven to be correct by Joan Mir winning the 2020 MotoGP title.

The Italian has a history of success. Davide Brivio first entered the World Superbike championship in 1990, running a private team for Yamaha. He then went on to run Yamaha's factory WorldSBK team, before switching to MotoGP in 2002, leading the project when Grand Prix racing went four stroke. Brivio was instrumental in persuading Valentino Rossi to leave Honda and join Yamaha, going on to win five championships for Yamaha with both Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo, until he departed Yamaha for Ducati with Rossi.

When Rossi left Ducati at the end of 2012, that left Brivio at a loose end, a situation which Suzuki leaped upon to their benefit. Brivio has been instrumental in not just staff decisions, but he was also one of the drivers behind persuading Suzuki to set up a separate racing department, along the lines of the other major manufacturers. That organizational change made decision-making a great deal easier, and gave the racing department and team much more freedom to act without requiring the approval of Suzuki's top management.

Davide Brivio leaves behind a huge legacy in MotoGP, and big boots for Suzuki to try to fill.

The official press statement from Suzuki appears below:


DAVIDE BRIVIO AND TEAM SUZUKI ECSTAR PART WAYS
Team Suzuki Press Office - January 7.

After eight years at the helm of Team Suzuki Ecstar in the role of Team Manager, Davide Brivio and Suzuki have announced an end to their collaboration.

The Italian has been present in the MotoGP World Championship paddock for more than 20 years and has been involved with Suzuki since 2013. He held the position of Team Manager when Suzuki embarked on their new MotoGP project, and has remained in place throughout their rise to success, which was this year topped-off by the incredible World Championship crown achieved by Joan Mir, and the Teams’ Championship title for Team Suzuki Ecstar.

Brivio is pleased with the milestones achieved with Suzuki but now wishes to pursue new challenges in his professional and personal life, away from MotoGP.

Team Suzuki Ecstar appreciate the work done by Davide Brivio, and the excellent goals achieved together. The Suzuki squad now look to the future with sights set high for the 2021 season.

Davide Brivio:
“A new professional challenge and opportunity suddenly came to me and in the end I decided to take it. It has been a difficult decision. The hardest part will be to leave this fabulous group of people, whom I started this project with when Suzuki rejoined the Championship. And it’s hard to say goodbye also to all the people who have arrived over the years to create this great Team. I feel sad from this point of view, but at the same time I feel a lot of motivation for this new challenge - which was the key when I had to decide between renewing my contract with Suzuki or starting a completely new experience.

“Achieving a MotoGP title is something that will remain in the Suzuki history books and it will always have a special place in my life memories. I would like to deeply thank all the Suzuki management for their trust and confidence in me, which they had since the beginning. I would like to thank every single member of our MotoGP group in Japan and at the track, all the Suzuki network, and of course all the riders who rode for the Team in this period, especially Joan and Alex who did a great 2020 season.

“Joan becoming World Champion was a dream come true for me and for all the people who worked hard and accompanied me on this magnificent journey. I wish the best to Team Suzuki MotoGP, I hope that the results in the future will be better and better and I will always be a Suzuki fan. Thanks very much Suzuki!”

Shinichi Sahara – Team Suzuki Ecstar Project Leader:
“Sincerely, it was shocking news for us about Davide’s departure from Team Suzuki Ecstar. It feels like somebody took a part of me, because I always discussed with him how to develop the team and the bikes, and we’ve worked together for a long time. In 2020 we achieved fantastic results despite the unusual and difficult situation due to Covid-19. And 2021 will be an even more important year for us to keep the momentum. Now we are trying to find the best way to cover for the ‘Davide loss’. Luckily in most cases I have had quite a similar way of thinking to him, therefore it is not so difficult to keep the direction we should go as Team Suzuki Ecstar, I think. We would like to wish him the best of luck for the future.”

Source: 

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Comments

... enormous bag of money was involved that probably could run a MotoGP in its own. Good for him and his family, however Suzuki will be severely challenged to make another step without a leader.

With F1's budget cap and variable testing restrictions coming into force this year it's certainly an exciting time for F1's midfield runners. Brivio's spent 7 years playing this game already at Suzuki, with most of the teams having to deal with a massive budget cut he's the perfect guy to guide Alpine through it.

On that note, in years past the Alpine team have a well earned reputation for being giant killers. First as Benetton in the 90s, then Renault in the 2000s and Lotus in the 2010s, they've taken a lot of trophies despite never having the budget to match the top spenders. Big hole for Suzuki to fill though.

Davide! We will all miss you SO much. You have been a single most appreciated gentle earnest good human being in the circus. The "family table" style management is beautiful. Your program has done wonders with little. Thankful we have had you.

Out at the top of things, not bad timing. F1 may be bigger, but not better. Hope you get what you wish in professional terms. The culture of F1 looks...cheesy shiny spendy Monaco relatively. Go straighten their egoic arse attitudes out by sheer example, eh? You do so well at cutting through all the bullshite. 

But did you notice they have two extra senseless wheels on the things? Gross!!

(Suppo, might be a good thing? Your passion can bring more heat into their sometimes cool program. And you may truly enjoy the "small town friendly" culture. Mutually good.) My favorite memory of you was us having a piss at adjacent urinals. You kept on talking intently with your Duc staff the whole time, momentarily keeping one hand still. I thought "wow, what a committed blaze of work ethic!" 

Good luck Davide! And Suzuki. 

Davide was the one team manager that was always willing speak with Simon Crafar in depth, other than of Wilco Zeelenburg.  Simon will work harder for those interviews!

Good on Brivio. Always enjoyed his bubbly, even-minded  demeanor. Wish him the best.

So many changes at Suzuki...losing one of the most wonderful men in the paddock, gaining sponsorship money and readying for 2 more bikes. I always enjoyed listening to Davide, would have wanted to ride for him. He goes out on top, now it's time to cash in. Also, another yuge challenge. Something tells me he'll be just fine. Suzuki,,,time will provide answers but for now I expect Rins to be WC this season with Mir in the hunt.

"Cemeteries are full of indispensable men" (apocryphally attributed to Charles de Gaulle)

This quote is in no way meant to slight Mr. Brivio, who I hold in the highest regard. But rather to possibly tamp down some of the wailing and gnashing of teeth that is the inevitable result of...well...life as it is. And "indispensable" is not a static and unchanging concept, but a perception very much influenced by time and events. Few would have called Winston Churchill "indispensable" in 1932. Fewer would have questioned his indispensability in 1940. Suzuki will need to accept all this and then promptly get on with it.

But it ain't going to be easy. Davide Brivio has the key (and fantastically rare) set of skills that define those who I hold in the highest professional esteem: He can connect all the dots in a way that results in a clear map for success (as opposed to a Rorschach Test drawn by a half-bright monkey with a box of crayons).

This wizardry over dots is certainly what Vale means when he talks glowingly about Brivio. Because old Rossifumi has seen, and benefited from, Team Management done successfully. He has suffered when it was mediocre. And he has also seen other Teams that could be fairly described as; "a complete clusterf**k with aspirations of one day being a shambles".

Mr. Brivio has shown all the necessaries to be consistently successful, which is why Renault/Alpine snagged him. If that F1 Team's priorities had been different, say they cast about one day and noticed they were dangerously short of Bottled Spiders, they may have chosen someone else.

It strikes me the first thing Brivio brings with him is his ability to recognize what the dots are, which absolutely must precede any attempt to connect them. Some snarky comments have floated about (elsewhere, not here) regarding the fact that Brivio lacks any F1 experience. Well, I hate to break this to the snarkers, but SFW? He is not designing the car. He is not the aerodynamicist. He is not generating engineering specifications for the power unit. As such the first examination he will make of his new box of F1 dots will not result in him proclaiming "I really think we need a new exhaust cam profile" but rather "do I have the right people and resources to succeed?". If he identifies any personnel shortfalls, be they in numbers or knowledge or skills, job one is to see they are resolved (and that analysis has to start with the pilots). For this Davide needs only enough technical knowledge to make those calls correctly (which he has more than adequately demonstrated he possesses). And so eventually, once you have been through your new box of dots a few times (and filled in any Team knowledge or skill gaps) and are now confident that the right people are in the right places, those dots are no longer dots at all. They have been transformed by the Team's collective knowledge into "issues".

And that brings us to the greatest challenge: "Er, what the bloody hell do we do with this big box of issues?". Fortunately this also appears to be one of Davide Brivio's greatest strengths; How are the proposed solutions to these issues prioritized? What resources are required? If there are resource deficiencies (and there always will be), how do we resolve those or work around them? How are the individual solutions interrelated (in something as dynamically complex as a racing vehicle) so we wind up with the final end product actually being better (as opposed to focusing on solutions in semi-isolation, with the risk of discovering we only managed to rob Peter to pay Paul, and that the end product has not appreciably benefited from our applied solutions)? Example; the Team has identified 80 issues that if resolved could improve the performance of the end item. The tyranny of time, budgets, and human resources means that (at best) you can resolve 23 of these. OK, but which 23 (in combination!) yield the best result for the end product? And do you allow your race engineers to aggressively pursue solutions that may provide a real improvement this year, only to be rendered about as useful as shoes on a snake next year (after regulation changes)? And how do you coordinate these efforts between the trackside crew, the chassis constructor, and the power unit supplier, each with its own engineering and technical staff, without starting a small religious war? And who pays for design changes to one system that then impose cost and resource stress on the others? ("Er, I need you to move your whole kit another 17mm outboard. There's a good lad").  And who do you work with when there is clearly no way forward without ladling out second bowls of gruel all-around...when not even one tiny spoonful of the stuff remains in the team's larder?

If your manager has a real knack for all of that, you will steadily improve relative to the competition (See: Suzuki and KTM). If yours lacks the ability (or resources) to do all or even most of that you will regress relative to the competition, even if you improved in absolute terms (See: everyone except Suzuki and KTM). Of course the limit on improvements (and thus your success) is ultimately capped by the constraint on resources (or a poorly considered rules freeze). Fortunately, resources do not always have to be defined by large sacks of Euros (though it never hurts. The SR-71 Blackbird was a fantastically successful program. But when I was (much) younger I met a few of the engineers who worked on it, and they almost gleefully confided; "yes, but we had an unlimited budget. And we exceeded it").

The talent of your people, if they are at least somewhat content (pitchforks, or torches, but never both at the same time), is always the "X" factor. Great talent and some resources can indeed beat some talent and great resources...if the former is managed better (OK, much better). And successful management is never one size fits all. It can take on numerous forms, be it a truly inspirational leader who gets the absolute very best out of every team member and the available resources...or be it the words of probably the best manger in the history of major league baseball; "look, I just try to keep the nine guys who hate me away from the nine who haven't made up their minds".

I have little doubt that Davide Brivio will get everything out of his F1 Team that can be had. If he is given the right talent...and sufficient resources...that just may be enough to scare the Lederhose off a few Germans.

As for Suzuki? Only time will tell. But I would offer the lads in Hamamatsu the following: Weeping in cemeteries will avail you nothing, and for pity's sake do not allow Davide's replacement to toss out the baby when he inevitably changes the bathwater. Cheers.

 

 

 

Right Jinx?

A third thought may be that the gentle genius of family culture and integration Davide launched this Era of Suzuki with might not be the optimal style of team management for the next stage of the mission. It is, belatedly, lengthening the wick on the whole program. Belief? Up. Experience of actualized potential? Up. EXPECTATION, up. Shit got real. Perhaps it is time for a bit more heat in the kitchen for the little engine that can?

Suppo? Mission Winmore, Monster Chapter. Phase one, in which Doris sows her Jr Team. 

 

 

 

 

Permanently etched in the imagination is a spider in a lidded mason jar resting on the floor of a certain motogp pit box. The spider scampers around the jar barking out orders to the crew. Yet, all go about their work with indifference to the bottled spider's concerns because the tiny spider's squeaks can't be heard. The head of the spider is that of a certain someone we all know. Eyes bug out as if he just put HAYDEN OUT on a pit board. Some inspiration taken from the final scene of the movie The Fly (1958). 

It's presumably a good career move.  You can't doubt that even though it's dull beyond imagination, F1 is still a bigger scene than MotoGP.  But I think it's a very different scene and I wonder if Davide will be happy (besides the extra zeros in the bank account).

It's been a pleasure to watch Davide throughout the years and he's perhaps the only team manager that you grew to like just from his interviews.  Compare that with Puig and Jarvis who come across as total misery-gutses, or the old bulls in Ducati whose egos appear to eclipse those of their riders - to the teams detriment.

True, but you have to like Hervé as well.

I DON'T like Herve...

I LOVE him! What is there not to like about him? Is there ANY single person ANYWHERE that has EVER had a sub-great interaction with Mr Poncheral?

He is a GEM. Say bad things about nearly anyone or anything. Not here.

 

Herve is a real gem.  I must say that Davide's shock departure (at the 11th hour surely?) disappoints me somewhat, Herve would NEVER debunk to F1 - last minute or otherwise.  In terms of assessing the managers I guess I was only thinking in terms of factory teams.

Both Poncharal and Brivio are very likeable characters. The bottled spider? Not so much. But respect can be found for anyone...

Maybe this is slightly provocative- but I rarely hear or read anything remotely negative about Mr. Jarvis' recent success or lack of. Nothing against Lin Jarvis per se- he has proven himself to be one of the best team bosses - in the past. But in a business, let alone racing- if you do not succeed over a large number of years - with ongoing ('always the same...?) bike/rider problems, and you have a season like Yamaha just had- where the team were supposed to walk with it- with Marquez/Honda uniquely down and out- why is the situation always blamed on the bike or the riders? Why does boss Lin Jarvis get a free ride? Is that fair- is it right? Can that motivate 'his' team?  I never hear anyone question 'his' recent lack of success? Again, nothing against Mr. Jarvis, but to have him publicly blaming 'Japan' Yamaha HQ for bike problems (for how many years has Rossi said nobody really listens..) is a problem in itself for Mr. Jarvis. He is the most senior public racing boss of Yamaha 'Japan', he also must have been helping communicate his rider's needs - if as they all say, its the same problem every year. He is in effect also part of HQ, if not geographically. And the team boss must at some point carry the responsibility for the good and yes, the bad. So, isn't Lin Jarvis one 'part' of Yamaha's problem? Is it not the team boss' responsibility if he keeps a rider too long...or signs a rider to the works team in haste too quickly? (Today, he rather might have signed Morbidelli to the factory team). Saying nothing of Vinales. My point is not to heap all the blame on Mr. Jarvis, but surely, some part of Yamaha's problem may be the team boss not playing the chess game as well as his competitors of late? Or not communicating well enough if Japan HQ still do not understand the same bike problem year after year? It has been a long long time since the very very experienced Yamaha team has won a championship. Perhaps the least he could do in his situation is not blame the Japan Yamaha HQ - for what is a team effort in good and bad times. 

I was thinking along those lines at various times throughout 2020.  A factory team in such total disarray and yet the manager is never brought into question?

Same deal for Ducati, serial underperformers and yet it's the engineer, the bike, the tyres, the riders always at fault.  The management never asked to explain their performance.  If I were Audi or Marlboro I would put the broom through the team management, tell Domenicali to stick to running the company not the race team, and see if the (to the external observer) poor culture of the team can be turned around.

KTM is an interesting case, seem to be half and half.  The Zarco situation was a train wreck, and I remember when their Triumph Moto2 bike was struggling they totally threw the chassis engineer of that under the bus.  Other commentary on team staff/riders I can't really recall but which seemed harsh in the context of todays corporate speak.  Maybe it's just the direct German/Austrian way, calling a spade a spade.  We're not used to real things being said by management anymore.  But the results in 2020 and the (again, to the external observer) team vibe seem extremely good.  Somewhere between the 'happy family' vibe of Suzuki/Tech3 etc, and the 'cold hard focus' of Honda/Yamaha.  Will be interesting to see how that pans out.

Ducati North America headquarters, as well as the homes of some top brass, recently had an FBI raid. (Not that funny little fascist fart last gasp face plant in D.C., out in California).

"Financial crimes"

You know what a financial crime is? Every single overpriced thing they have ever sold. The ONE thing I have ever bought from them? A Hayden T-shirt from a clearance sale rack. I still may have to come for a $1300 valve adjustment on it annually. P.S. good luck Red rookies, hoping one if you can unlock the Baloney - it needs someone to give it a blast off. 

I'm still wondering about his interactions with Ben Spies (elephants have long memories).

WTF happened?

What made such a promising role in MotoGP turn to shit? What made a young man who could compete with and beat the giant Mat Mladin turn away from the sport? (besides all the injuries).

I looked as far in this rabbit hole as I could. Wrote a few things on it back then. 

His SBK savvy (not GP's) manager was forced in, then forced Yamaha to "give Ben what he wants" initially re electronics, totally not what anyone else was asking for. It created a huge wedge between his garage and Yamaha. They brought in their own electronics guy FROM SBK. I see that as the major "dynamic setting disruption." Does it explain the only swingarm that we have ever seen fail on a race wknd? No. 

(HRC had a plant!)

;)

Addendum Wintertainment, 50mins 2009 WSBK Review 

(The more you look the better the Texan Elbows look, he had never seen these tracks!)

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=8gznSdpzOPQ

"I love you...now change!!"

Spies was a monster on the brakes, but as opposed to the no-hopes in the King of the Late Brakers club, Ben had the mad talent of being able to finish the corner. This was demonstrated time and again in his AMA and WSBK championship runs as he carved through traffic like a hot knife thru butter. So unless the eyeballs of Yamaha's MotoGP management were just painted on, they had to know this.

Size Matters

Jorge Lorenzo was approximately 65 kg and 170 cm tall. Spies was approximately 72 kg and 180 cm tall. Vale, who had just left Yamaha for a job driving a bright red turnip truck, was approximately 66 kg...but that was spread over 180 cm, which is somewhere between spaghettini and capellini on an Italian BMI chart. (By the way, there is no truth to the rumor that Rossi is now so lean he has to run around in the shower to get wet. That's just nonsense. With his vast wealth he has the resources to hire someone to constantly move the shower head while he stays imperiously still).

So Ben was spotting Jorge around 7 kg, and he also would need to fold an additional 10 cm of length in the space between the seat and the bars. Not a fatal handicap, but nothing you would call helpful either.

Lorenzo the Magnificent

People sometimes forget just how dominant Jorge Lorenzo was in 2010. Out of eighteen races, he won nine of them, and finished on the podium in seven others. His worst showings were a pair of 4th place finishes. With Vale departing Yamaha (after his 2010 annus horribilis) to try his luck transporting produce, it was not just Jorge's Team, it was Jorge's world, and whoever was in the next box over was just visiting.

The Princes and the Pauper

While Vale also spotted Jorge a tiny bit of mass...and a good deal of foldable length...what he didn't spot him was a background racing the absolute pinnacle of all human endeavors: A 250cc GP bike. Opinions may differ, but to me the 250cc GP bikes from the early 1990's until their sad demise (ending up having just over 100 BHP and weighing just under 100 kg) were the finest implements of GP motorcycle racing ever crafted. The 125's were nice, but the 250's were magic....and they separated the wheat from the chaff ruthlessly. Vale spent two years wielding Aprilia's brilliant 250's, binning them early and often as runner-up in his first season (but ominously winning the last four in a row), and then the following year simply dominating (nine wins in seventeen starts). Jorge spent three years in the class; as a complete brat finishing 5th on a Honda, then hopping on an Aprilia and winning the next two championships in a row (by beating Dovi, who finished second both years).

And what was young Master Spies piloting at the time? A collection of AMA 600 Superstocks and Supersports, 1000 Superbikes, and some bizarro things called Formula Xtreme, which were an attempt by the AMA to spoon some MotoGP level performance from a pot of hot steetbikes, and it was about as appealing as slapping a Ferrari body kit on a Fiero. But Ben hit his stride in the AMA 1000 Superbike class as champion in '06, '07, and '08. And to do so he had to beat a very talented grid, including Mat Mladin (on the same bike, and I rate Mladin as not only a superb rider and champion, but tougher than a three dollar steak). Then Yamaha poached him for the 2009 WSBK season, and he promptly (and somewhat improbably) won that title after a year long knife fight with Haga. And then he was off to MotoGP with Tech Trois for a damned impressive rookie year, and finally offered the 2011 seat next to Jorge on the Factory M1.

"Be like Jorge"

And so Spies arrived in MotoGP without ever doing a single racing lap on a 250 GP bike. And while there is certainly nothing wrong with having cut your teeth in the modified steetbike classes (as Mr. Morbidelli would attest), to be fair, the AMA stuff were never GP bikes. By comparison they were not even proper top of the line turnip trucks, but were more like a Communist East German attempt at a turnip truck. And Communist East German Trucks will impart a different piloting style than the typical MotoGP rider uses.

Again, none of that precludes success in MotoGP (and Spies had some very good showings his first year on the satellite squad), but it does mean that whatever they are doing in the next box over is of little benefit to the new guy. Sure, Vale and Jorge had very different riding styles, but that was only on a relative scale. They may have danced differently, but they both grew up listening to the same music. Ben was a horse of a different color, and tragically Iwata just wouldn't see it that way when he was slotted on the factory squad. Ben's violent (and successful) braking style was bottoming the factory M1's forks every third turn, and so he needed a much stiffer suspension set-up. Yamaha's response? "Be more like Jorge on the brakes and you won't have these issues". Like a lot of heavy brakers, Spies used the throttle to rotate the bike and complete the turn, but the Iwata electronic settings were useless for this method, having been developed for Lorenzo's smooth as silk maximum corner speed approach. When his crew asked for new parameters they were told "Be more like Jorge on the throttle and you won't have these issues". Same with the rear linkage and spring rates, which were all developed to be super soft and support Jorge's flowing style (and lighter weight). So on corner exit Ben's bike wallowed about like a drunk hippo. And on some tracks, especially glorified goat paths like Laguna, the rear end was not just wallowing but also bottoming multiple times per lap as-well...until it finally just broke. And Yamaha's response? Well, it was all just a broken phonograph record by then.

Ben Spies' adventures in MotoGP remains one of the saddest examples of a Factory's tunnel vision wasting a great talent (and a proven winner). I would have loved to have seen what Spies could have accomplished if Iwata had committed to giving him a bike that even marginally complimented his riding style, at least in 2011 (allowing him to transition his riding style rather than just bin it and start from scratch), or even to have remained at Tech Trois longer. But successful MotoGP teams also got that way by knowing which side of the toast has the butter on it, and that is the side of the box you take care of. It was like that when Jorge was winning, just like it has been for Vale, and for Casey, and for Marc, and...go down the entire list.

"Never ascribe to malice that which can be adequately explained by incompetence"

Like so many tragedies, there was really no malice or bad intent involved. Yamaha evaluated Ben's MotoGP riding style, looked at his data, and concluded that he would be far better off changing his approach to more of a MotoGP orthodoxy. OK, maybe not full-on Jorge, but something closer to Vale's style may have been the eventual goal. But before that could happen it all went pear shaped. Ben wanted to succeed at Yamaha, but it is difficult to see the path forward when both ends of the bike are bottoming the suspension. Iwata would not have selected Ben if they didn't want him to do well, but Jorge in those years was sucking up all of the oxygen in the room. There just wasn't enough left for any solutions except for Ben to be more like Jorge. Which is nothing two or three years on a GP 250 would not have accomplished. Cheers.

and I'm crying. :D

Thanks for your unique insight Jinx.

And as for LS ('Shrink), I think we 'Muricans have a unique take on Laguna Seca and environs. Euros and others like the "environs" but Seca itself? Not so much.

Glory hallelujah to the goat paths! Not just LS, most of the BSB tracks. Lovely! Perhaps on a 600/Moto2, but lovely just the same. 

Anyone who has ridden Laguna respects it and makes an interesting face about several bits. Even the comparatively tame Rainey Curve intimidated the shite out of me and demanded a roll off. 

The Ben and Kevin Schwantz were having a great chat about the track change following the repave over lunch at the first MotoGP return round that Nicky won. I listened to every bit while eating. "Easier" without the bumps, more confidence attacking T2 etc. Ben always seemed SO relaxed and down to Earth. I grabbed a photo after. Repeated everything to Colin Edwards. Got a T-shirt from him I love. After the race, John Hopkins looked like he wanted to drown either his Suzuki or himself in the lake. Hanging out with Capirossi in the Red garage eating cured meats, cheeses and wine whilst ogling the Desmo was the highlight. The contrast of culture between the Italian and Japanese garages was poignant. Suzuki though? Right between the two. I was smitten like a 12 yr old girl half the weekend. 

Wasn't Portimao a very welcome addition last year? Fatter goats made that, but isn't the best of that the goatiest? 

Onboard lap Portimao w Jack

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=wXCGsBwIFTg

Onboard lap of LS (Yamaha)

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=NGlwqNV8Leo

but I also had the honor of being present at LS (T4 grandstands) for Nicky Hayden's first MotoGP win in 2005. Man that was a grand time.

Hopper always resented Nicky's ride in the Repsol Honda squad. Do you know if he ever made peace with that?

Is that he proves you can successfully deploy technical expertise and rider talent, in an extremely competitive businesss, without being either a complete dick or a something worse. Similar culture can be observed at Petronas, and Tech 3. Yes hard decision are necessary, but that can be done with decency and integrity. He might not be indispensable but I reckon we will miss him.

Reading comments like this but, please, Jinx and Motoshrink, never stop offering your insight.......

What a crowd you have drawn in around your great wisdom David.........