Alex Rins has his sights set on top MotoGP rookie honours and a favourable comparison with Suzuki predecessor Maverick Vinales.
Like Vinales, Rins is joining the premier-class on a GSX-RR after winning four races for the Pons team in Moto2. The difference is that Vinales spent only one season in the intermediate class, with two for Rins.
“From what I saw in Valencia, the goal will be to end the season Rookie of the Year – and beat the riders I was racing against in Moto2," Rins told the official MotoGP website, referring to the 600cc rivals that will also be stepping up to the premier-class; Johann Zarco, Sam Lowes and Jonas Folger.
“Obviously it's going to be a lot of pressure, because I'm replacing Maverick at Suzuki. And in Moto2, he left Paginas Amarillas HP40 and I joined them, so there's always been a bit of comparison.
"But hopefully that will continue in MotoGP due to me having had two incredible seasons. I'll try to equal what he did - or even beat it.”
Vinales finished twelfth overall in his debut MotoGP campaign, with a best race finish of sixth.
The young Spaniard then soon got the better of experienced team-mate Aleix Espargaro last season, when he took the improved GSX-RR to four podiums - including one historic win - before leaving for Yamaha.
While Vinales was topping the timesheets for his new team at November's Valencia test, Rins suffered a back injury, forcing him to miss a following private test at Jerez.
“It was quite hard. I had a whole month in the corset and trying to rest, because back injuries are something to take seriously," he said. "The crash was a strange one because I fell, and then a couple of laps later my team-mate, Andrea Iannone, fell in exactly the same place.
"We went through the telemetry trying to determine the cause but we didn't find anything. I took the same trajectory, the front wheel locked, and I lost it.”
Rins will join Iannone at the Suzuki team launch on January 29th, then be on track the following day for the start of the official Sepang test.