How Valentino Rossi Almost Ended Up a suzuki rider - davide brivio explains
Besides his great love Yamaha, MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi rode for Honda and Ducati. A Suzuki appearance never came about. However, there was interest from the Japanese.
With Valentino Rossi’s switch to Ducati in 2011, many fans dreamed of a success that Pecco Bagnaia would achieve eleven years later – an Italian riders’ world champion on an Italian bike. But what promised a lot turned out to be a bitter disappointment.
Valentino Rossi and Davide Brivio during their shared time at Yamaha – Image provided by Motorsport Images
Rossi’s biggest achievement with Ducati was a third place. The Italian pulled the ripcord in 2012 and returned to Yamaha in 2013.
However, rumor has it that other interested parties had already emerged, even Suzuki had been interested.
The Japanese had left MotoGP in 2011 but had planned to rejoin in 2014, for which there were no riders.
As former Yamaha and Suzuki team boss Davide Brivio tells Slick magazine, there were inquiries of interest from Suzuki about Rossi in early 2012.
Brivio had worked as an independent consultant for Valentino Rossi after leaving Yamaha in 2010.
“We have to look back to 2012 when I worked with Valentino,” Brivio said. The Italian explains how his compatriot almost ended up at Suzuki back then, they just missed each other in terms of time.
“At the beginning of 2012, Suzuki MotoGP boss Shinichi Sahara contacted me. [He] wanted to know if Valentino was interested in becoming part of the project.” But despite the offer, no collaboration came about.
“I told Valentino because I knew that his Ducati contract runs until the end of 2012. He told me he needed a bike for 2013, not 2014, so he couldn’t wait for Suzuki.”
For Rossi, nothing came of the contact with Suzuki. Shinichi Sahara took the opportunity a few weeks later to recruit Brivio as team principal of the Suzuki MotoGP project. The Italian’s hiring culminated in the double world title in 2020.