Alex Rins has ended a dramatic 24 hours by topping Friday practice at the Malaysian MotoGP with the same Suzuki bike which accidentally caught fire during Thursday’s set-up at Sepang.

Rins saw one of his Suzuki GSX-RR’s catch alight on Thursday when some fuel overflowed on to the exhaust while his mechanics warmed-up the bike as part of its usual programme.

The fire was quickly extinguished by Suzuki mechanics and marshals but the bike sustained damage to electronic cables and the fairing. Rins confirmed only the fairing and electronic cables needed repairing and his chassis and engine remained unscathed by the incident.

Rins then used the same bike to power his way to the top of the times at the end of FP2 at Sepang showing impressive pace on both long and short runs and is optimistic to maintain his strong form to end the 2018 campaign.

“I'm very happy, we knew that at the test, our bike had a good potential. Compared with now, the bike has changed a lot, the engine, the fairing, the winglets, the electronics a little bit,” Rins said. “So I'm very happy because we worked well from the beginning, from FP1.

“Still we need to improve, we need to go faster, because for sure tomorrow we will improve the lap time. We need to keep working on braking, because compared to the test, we are losing a little bit in this area. But for the rest, it was really good.”

Rins poured credit on his Suzuki mechanics for fixing his fire-damaged GSX-RR and was amazed to se no lasting damage to his bike or team following the scary incident on Friday.

“They did a really big job,” he said. “Yesterday when the bike caught fire, I was here doing something in the office, and when I went into the box, I saw the bike, everybody with water, I couldn't understand what was going on.

“The funny thing is the lap time today I did with this bike, the one which caught fire. So it's fun.

“But I was scared, because Marco, my mechanic, was on the bike and he was touched on fire, but he is OK, so this is the most important thing.

“It's all okay. We changed all the electronic cables. But the fairing, the chassis, the engine, is all the same.”


— Graham Read (@speedyready) November 1, 2018