Alex Rins rolled up his sleeves and took the fight to Danilo Petrucci in Sunday's season-opening Qatar MotoGP.

But it backfired when Rins, who had qualified a MotoGP best of sixth, fell from his Suzuki on an unlucky lap 13 of 22.

"I was starting from sixth position - my best result. Then the feeling with the clutch was not so good on the start and we missed a bit on the first lap," explained Rins, who dropped back to ninth.

The Spaniard was initially able to shadow race winner Andrea Dovizioso as he moved through a vast lead group, but lost touch with the Ducati rider when he jumped from sixth to fourth on lap 8.

"When I was with Dovi I was following him easy - not very easy, but easy. But when he started to overtake on the straight it was impossible for me. I wasn’t competitive on the brakes today."

And that would prove his downfall, just after the halfway stage.

"Petrucci was really good on the brakes. I was trying to fight with him for sixth position when I lost the front.

"Finally, if I had stayed in ninth or tenth I would have finished the race in that position. I think that we have potential for more.

"I’m angry. I want to learn more and I think we have more potential to be closer to the front.

"Fighting with Petrucci, who is a really good braker. We crashed. Nothing more. I didn’t do a big mistake, like in Valencia for example when I started in second gear.

"Today I was more calm and more consistent."

Although losing out on the brakes, Rins and the GSX-RR were gaining in other areas.

"What I saw in the race was that we are really competitive in fast corners and exiting from slow corners. In general we have a really like stable bike. We have a really well balanced bike.

"Today we were missing a little bit in braking but in the rest of the areas, it was perfect.

"For example on the straight I started from the last corner and I think I arrived [at turn one] 0.3 or 0.5 from Petrucci. To gain this is very difficult. Finally in the fast corners they were disturbing me a little bit. But anyway, we’ll keep working."

Team-mate Andrea Iannone, who fell while fighting for a podium in Qatar last season, finished ninth.