Andrea Iannone’s manager Carlo Pernat believes that people will see the Suzuki rider in a different light in the 2018 MotoGP season.
The Italian rider came in for strong criticism in what was a difficult first year on board the Suzuki after four seasons with Ducati, one that yielded no podium finishes and a best result of fourth.
Among his harshest critics was 1993 500cc champion Kevin Schwantz, who believes Suzuki should be planning to replace Iannone in 2019.
But Pernat believes that, with a year of experience of the GSX-RR under his belt, Iannone will be a man transformed and that his critics will be forced to eat their words.
He also alluded to Iannone’s relationship with Argentine model Belen Rodriguez as a reason for the Italian being misunderstood.
“He [Iannone] didn’t take it [being criticised] well," Pernat told Motorsport.com. "When you’re a rider with quite a high-level private life, it clearly creates situations with a lot of jealousy.
“It is clear that the first thing people say is that he’s dating Belen. I live their relationship, it’s a beautiful one. Plus, when he won in Austria [in 2016], Belen was already with him.
“Nowadays, with social media, you display the image you want, I agree with this. But to say he’d have forgotten how to ride, no way.
"It’s clear that when you date these people, you become a showman and today’s media play with those things. But I am convinced that next year, many people will change their minds.
"With the new bike, his motivation and his aggressiveness, I think he will be at the top or at least fight for something important. Then, one will need to wonder where those who criticised him are."
Pernat has previously stated that Iannone is capable of winning a world championship in MotoGP, a prediction he stands by despite his recent difficulties.
“After 40 years, this might have been my toughest year," admitted the veteran manager. "Among all the riders that I have had, in terms of talent, he [Iannone] is the one who has a bit more.
“Remember the fights and the multiple overtakes with Marquez, you can’t do them without a talent tinged with ‘sporting nastiness’. He’s the one who was the most spectacular in these fights.
“I think he’s the most talented of all. If he finds himself in the right season, he will entertain us. He’s a man who can win the title, I’m sure about it.”
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