Sixth overall with a strong race pace at Sepang, Alex Rins and Suzuki climbed one place higher again at the Thailand MotoGP test.

The results have further convinced Rins that the revised 2018 GSX-RR can be a contender this season.

“In Malaysia I was 80% sure that this package was good and the right fit for me, but now I’m going home 100% sure that this package has a strong potential," he said.

"During these winter tests my target was to try to be competitive, and to create a good bike, to hopefully fight for the top positions this season.

"The truth is that things are going very good, we are trying a lot of things and fortunately they are working well.

"It's never enough, but sincerely we did a big step with the bike compared to last year.

"As a rider, compared to last year, I've improved a lot on the brakes, but still I need a little bit more of everything."

The young Spaniard was ranked 2nd-7th-5th over the three days in Buriram, during which the team debuted a new downforce fairing.

"The engine, the chassis was the same as Sepang, just we changed the fairing, the winglets," he confirmed.

Despite falling while using the new fairing, Rins declared: "I felt a lot of difference in a positive way. We have much less wheelie so the bike is accelerating more because the engine can deliver more power.

"Now we need to adjust a little bit, with my two crashes I don't have any more winglets! But yeah, we will keep working on this fairing.

"We have two types of winglets, one longer than the other and for these tracks maybe the longer one works better and the rest of the tracks we need to try. But we have confidence in the new winglets."

2017 was a tough year for Rins and Suzuki. The Moto2 title contender was injured in testing and then again in Texas, but fought back to match team-mate Andrea Iannone's best result of the season with fourth at the Valencia finale.

"Last year was really difficult for me. I suffer a lot with injuries and everything," Rins said. "But now I'm on a good performance.

"We have developed the bike a lot since 2016 [when Vinales won a race] everything changes, we don't have anything the same.

"Now, with my experience and also the experience of my crew chief and the Japanese guys at Suzuki we will try to improve and increase the rhythm, race pace and the results."

Does Rins have an idea of what results could be possible in 2018?

"I'm not 100 percent sure because in testing everybody has a lot of tyres to try, also some new experimental tyres.

"What is true is I know is that Malaysia and here were really positive days. We didn't focus just on one lap. We are trying to do a good race pace and for sure I'm not the fastest guy on race pace, but I'm closer to the top guys."

Iannone was 15th fastest In Thailand. The Italian struggled to put together a fast lap time, but felt more confident in his race pace.

“On consecutive laps I can be consistently fast, which is important for the races. The new fairing gave me good sensations. In Qatar we’ll finalise some more things in order to be ready, but I feel positive about starting the championship.”

The final pre-season test will be held at Qatar on March 1-3.


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