After the struggles in the 2017 MotoGP season, Suzuki has had a sound turnaround this year as its rider Andrea Iannone says that it is a ‘more complete’ bike than its predecessor.

The Japanese manufacturer finished sixth last year with no podiums but already has four this season at the halfway mark with 128 points. The results have been made possible due to the new engine specification which has improved the handling in leaps and bounds.

Some of the chassis changes were already in place last season. They tried a carbon reinforced chassis in Mugello this year, while they also had a evolution of the new engine in place in Assen which has helped them further to make the bike stronger.

Developments continue still as Team Manager Davide Brivio aims to test fresh parts in Brno and Aragon in the coming weeks. The improved characteristics of the bike has also helped with a performance step for the riders Iannone and Alex Rins.

Iannone is ninth in the standings with 75 points after two third place finishes, while Rins is 11th with 53 points having scored two podiums (one second place and one third) as well. “Unfortunately last year – as we have said many times – was a very difficult year.

“This season we have already started in a different way. In the third race we started to go very well and I must say that right now, in the middle of the season, we are satisfied with the results obtained,” said Iannone.

“Even if in some situations we could have achieved something more. But seeing where we have come from, we are giving our best and we have good potential. I think the bike has changed a lot, and for the better. And that is a big thing.

“Now the bike can bend a little better, accelerate better, it is more complete in all aspects. And all these improvements placed on the same plane allow us to make a difference and improve significantly.

“In addition, this year we started with an engine that has improved our performance compared to 2017. [Although] I sincerely believe that we still have some small details, especially how to manage the second part of the race.

“Because that is the part that ruins my performance a bit during the weekend, after going well during all the practice and qualifying sessions,” the Italian explained. Out of all the races in the first half, Iannone put the race in Austin and Mugello at the top of his list.

In Austin, he scored his first podium with Suzuki especially on the back of the troubled season last year, whereas in Mugello he was fourth battling hard with teammate Rins and Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi – the latter pipped him to a podium place.

While the bike improvements coupled with him feeling much more comfortable with it due to his riding style, but Iannone has already made the decision to switch to Aprilia in 2019 as Moto2 graduate Joan Mir will join Rins in Suzuki.