Alex Rins was “very happy” with his showing at the Italian Grand Prix at Mugello, despite coming home fifth, and narrowly missing out on a podium finish.

A crash in FP4 left the Catalan nursing an injured right shoulder that prevented him from posting runs longer than four laps in morning warm-up, casting some doubt on his fitness for a full race distance.

But after a steady start, Rins was in the midst of a titanic five-rider scrap for the final podium place, which went all the way to the flag. In the end, the former Moto2 and Moto3 runner up came home fifth, 1.2s back of Valentino Rossi in third.

“I’m very happy,” said Rins. “I had a very hard crash and during the race I was struggling a lot with my right shoulder and arm but overall it was very positive and I was trying to keep focussed and hold my position and rhythm. Finally at the end of the race I was feeling stronger than the other riders like Iannone or Valentino but honestly I didn't find the correct place to overtake.

“It was quite difficult. In warm-up I could do a maximum of four laps and on the grid I was trying to forget this thing and to enjoy the race. On the first corner when I overtook a lot of riders I have a big smile on my face and I tried to enjoy it more and more.

“Until the end I managed the situation well. I had a lot of pain around the shoulder and I didn't have strength. So it was difficult before the race and I was talking with the medical guys and whether I should eat and have ibruprofen to manage the pain and it worked well.”

While there were a number of front end falls in the early laps, Rins and Iannone opted for Michelin’s ‘medium’ compound. “For me it was the best tyre,” he said. “Yesterday when I tried the W I had this massive crash and all weekend I was riding the Medium, also in the test.

“The performance was quite good but in the last seven laps it was difficult to managed because it was so hot on the track. The set-up on the bike was very good.”

How does he view his upcoming home race at the Circuit of Catalunya? “[There will be] Normal pressure,” he said. “We know we can fight for the podium. In the first few races the Suzuki bike could fight at the top and in Le Mans Andrea crashed but he had potential to be at the front.

“All of Suzuki works very hard to have a competitive bike but they don't put any pressure on us, so we will just enjoy the race. [Pressure] From the public? For sure my Mum is at home and pushing for the podium but we must understand everything we do.”

 

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