Alex Rins returned to the rostrum at Motegi in Japan for the first time since Assen after battling it out with Cal Crutchlow for the runner-up spot.

Andrea Dovizioso’s slip-off on the penultimate lap promoted Crutchlow and Rins into a fight for second place behind Marc Marquez, who closed out his eighth victory of the season to clinch a fifth premier class title.

Rins was beaten over the line by LCR Honda rider Crutchlow, but the Ecstar Suzuki rider was more than satisfied with third.

“I’m very happy and since yesterday we knew that our race pace was not so bad – it was good for trying to fight for the third position,” Rins said.

“Especially on the start, I overtook many riders and I had good battles with Valentino (Rossi) and (Andrea) Iannone. I destroyed a little bit the front tyre there, and then with Cal I had some chattering on the front.

“But anyway, I am very happy to be here and during all the race, I learned a lot and when Andrea crashed, the gap to Cal was 0.7 or one second. I tried to push hard to overtake him but I am quite happy.”

Suzuki has made solid progress with the GSX-RR this year and Rins has been impressed by the hard work by the Japanese factory behind the scenes.

“They are working really hard since the beginning of the season. In Assen, we changed the engine and we are using one with a little bit more power on the high speed and since there, they are doing always new things, new fairings,” he said.

“Here, we raced with a different one, new winglets. They want to win, so I am very happy to be part of them and to try and go fast. Our target was trying to finish the season in front of Andrea (Iannone) and now, we are in front of him. But for sure I want to catch the next rider, (Jorge) Lorenzo, and we will try to give our 100 per-cent.”