A third podium finish of 2018 was within reach, but Alex Rins nonetheless feels a second straight fourth place surpassed his – and Suzuki’s - expectations after a fantastic MotoGP showing from the Hamamatsu factory at Aragon.

Rins was just a second back of team-mate Andrea Iannone after 23 laps of racing – and 2.6s off the race winner - as both riders demonstrated the competitiveness of the 2018 GSX-RR around a track at which they struggled a year ago.

And the result could have been even better for the 22-year old had it not been for a “something strange” with the front tyre, a feeling likely to be due to degradation he first encountered with twelve laps to go.

“I’m really happy,” said a satisfied Rins. “I think we passed these expectations that we made yesterday. Mostly during all the race I was riding very comfortable with the first group. But then when there were twelve laps to go I started to feel something strange on the front.

“It was a little bit difficult to stop the bike. Then in the last laps at turn five I lost all my possibilities when I lost the front tyre, when it was closing. I don’t know [the cause]. We think so, about the degradation but we don’t know yet.”

“I think Michelin needs to check, needs to work to see what happened. For the rest, I learned a lot. I think [Marc] Marquez and Dovi [Andrea Dovizioso], they had one step more. They rode “slow” in parenthesis, because I was riding with them and very well.”

Rins was one of three men that finished in the top four that opted for Michelin’s soft rear compound, a choice he felt was the right one.

“I used the soft and it was good,” he said. “In the last four laps I was pushing a lot to go with Andrea but it was our ideal combination, yeah. This morning we were a little bit in doubt about the medium or the hard one. But it was perfect.

Iannone’s podium – Suzuki’s fifth of the year – means the factory will lose its concessions – unlimited testing, no freeze on engine development - for 2018. On this year's evidence, Rins feels the concessions haven't made a great deal of difference.

“I’m not happy [about losing them] but it’s not a worry," he said. "It’s normal. Basically we have the preseason to prepare the engine, the bike and everything. For sure this season at Assen they brought a little bit of a modification on the engine and it gave us two or three kph more on the straight. But that base of the engine was the same.”

With so much talk last weekend surrounding Ducati’s recent gains and its standing as the best bike on the grid, Rins was asked where he felt the current incarnation of the GSX-RR compared.

“Well, since the beginning I believed in Suzuki," he said. "I was saying we had a competitive bike, no? In some races we’ve been a little bit at the back, for the setting or I don’t know what. But for sure our bike is very competitive and very good. Sure, we need to improve a little bit in the top speed and the small things, but I’m very happy with my bike.”



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