Team Suzuki Press Office – December 17.
In his 2021 blog, Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Team Director and Project Leader Shinichi Sahara talks the highs and lows of taking on a last-minute job role, and everything it taught him.
“We’re at the end of a long and demanding season and I would say that, despite not getting quite the results we were hoping for, the year was around 60-70% what I expected.
“2021 was different for all of us, coming off the back of winning the title, and Davide Brivio leaving, we all had to step up and find the way forward. I had previously been the Team Director, mainly managing things from the factory in Japan, but in 2021, I took on a new role as Team Manager and Project Leader. This workload, coupled with still being the Group Leader in the development department in Japan, was way too much. But on the other hand, I learnt a lot, and being at the race tracks more has given me a unique insight that I didn’t have in previous years; I’m able to notice every detail on the GSX-RR and how it behaves on the track.
“Last year I was only at one track – Portimão for the season finale – and I wish I had been at more races to check how it was all going, because I wasn’t able to get a true understanding of our 2020 machine. When we started this season I couldn’t really compare the two bikes.
“In that same vein, attending all the races this year will be beneficial for next year, I think. I am really familiar with our bike now. Attending all the races hasn’t only been beneficial from the technical side, but also from the human management side of things. I have communicated with many people in the paddock in 2021, much more than before. Of course I already knew most of them but having direct communication with them face-to-face allowed us to get to know each other better than via emails or video meetings.
“Even within our own team, I have become much more familiar with all the work that each team member does. This has been most evident with the marketing department. I don’t think I really appreciated the complexities of their job until now! They are very creative and always pushing, they are constantly coming up with new ideas, not just every week but seemingly every hour! This side of our project was new to me; marketing, commercial and sponsorship – it’s a huge responsibility and I learnt a lot from the deep end! “