September 4th, 2016, scenario: Silverstone Circuit, in Great Britain, the British GP, one of the world motor temples like Monza in Italy, Spa in Belgium or Daytona in the USA.  

At his second MotoGP season, a young rider named Maverick Viñales, with the eyes of the tiger below the visor, was going to make a small miracle on his Suzuki GSX-RR. As for Maverick, also that bike was at its second season after the official comeback in the top class in 2015.       

Maverick’s eyes below the visor of his Arai helmet are framed by a beautiful graphics designed and realized by Sakartdesign for that season, that surely will remains in the memory of the fans of the Spanish talent. That afternoon was the turning point in Mav’s career.

The spark has been struck in the moment when the visor has been lowered and the semaphore turns off. The right adjective for Maverick in that race and season is: “determined”.   

It has been an incredibly important season, in every way. We’ve experienced it from the inside, in a privileged position being partner both for Team Suzuki Ecstar regarding the Team Design and Maverick for his helmet design and not only.

During the season we’ve looked up him from the runaway edge at Mugello GP, where he had the pole up to one minute to the end of the qualifying. Then in Misano, where he finished fifth after a very difficult race.

Coming back to Silverstone, at the start of the GP: 18ºC the temperature of the air, same for the ground, very tricky situation. Maverick has a really great start from the first row leading the group, but a terrible accident involves Pol Espargaro and Loris Baz (“riders ok”, luckily); it causes a red flag and the judges decide for a new start.

The stress for a new start for the riders is something that can’t be explained, like a mental “reset” and “restart” in few minutes. After 15 minutes, the restart. Since then Maverick has understood everything about how today’s MotoGP works (sometimes).

He has again a great start as before and already at the second corner he gains a big advantage on the group. There are many photos of that moment, in which you can understand that the young Spanish was set on “on fire” mode.

Then, his masterpiece during the second lap and when the other riders were just trying to understand what they have under their tyres, he made a fantastic 2.02″339, the best lap up to the end of the race. At the end, one second on Crutchlow and nine tenths of a second on Rossi, the other two riders on the podium. One second and a half on Marquez (!), fourth.

The rest, watching the race on TV, has been a triumph. His body language was sublime, hanging on his Suzuki. His pace during the first ten laps was 2.02 and the other riders remained further and further behind. In the meanwhile the cameras framed Suzuki box and Team Manager Davide Brivio who, even though his long races experience, barely hides his emotion. We leave out the last fights between Crutchlow, Rossi and Marquez for the podium, with the Spanish rider who made a mistake during the last laps ending the race fourth.

So we arrive at the last lap that really seems so long for all the Suzuki team. Silverstone is one of the most extended track of the season and Maverick, by lowering his race pace to 2.04, enjoyed it up to the checkered flag. On the finish line, his celebration with his arms up will remain in the annals of Suzuki and MotoGP as well.

What can we say about after the race? We have seen the real smile of Maverick, celebrated by the team as a knight who has just won the tourney in the county of Nottingham. It is very difficult to explain our feelings, but we neither had enough time for that.

We immediately started to work on the official photos received by the press office of the team Suzuki Ecstar, to be graphically prepared overnight for the following Monday. That season was not yet finished, but unfortunately the relationship between Maverick and Suzuki would end by the last race of 2016 in Valencia. During that season, the Spanish rider had already hit the podium in Le Mans, other historic track.

After Silverstone GP, Maverick had been competitive as never before, getting great performances that, compared to the other riders fighting for the title, it almost upsets! During the last seven races, Maverick, besides the Silverstone victory, hits two third places in Japan (Suzuki’s home) and Australia, then two fourth places, one fifth and one sixth place, for a total of 102 points (!).

Marquez, who won that world championship, scored 101 points, Rossi 105 and Lorenzo 95. Maverick ended the season as fourth behind the above mentioned big-time riders.

We have to be honest, we are still disappointed about the farewell of Maverick from Suzuki Team, after the two great seasons of 2015 and 2016 and a constant growth in the symbiosis between the man and the motorbike.

Even though the good start in 2017 season with the two in a row victories in Qatar and Argentina and then in Le Mans riding Yamaha’s bike of the official Team, these three remains his only other victories in the top class.

We have never seen again on Maverick’s face the same smile he had in Silverstone 2016. We wish him all the best for his career, hoping that our routes will cross again. Everything is possible in MotoGP, afterall.