Alex Rins feels he must become a MotoGP race winner with Suzuki before thinking about any potential title challenges in the future as he names the team's key area of improvement heading into winter testing.

The Spanish rider capped a stellar end to 2018 with a third podium in the last four races to confirm his fifth place in the riders’ championship but missed the opportunity for a maiden premier class win despite leading both starts in a red flag-interrupted Valencia race.

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Having to settle for second place still means Suzuki picks up four consecutive podiums for the first time since 1994 when Kevin Schwantz achieved the feat, including Andrea Iannone's rostrum in Australia, but feels the Japanese manufacturer still needs vital power and top speed gains next season before thinking about the next step in MotoGP.

“I think it is too early to start thinking about targets for next year. First of all I want to get my first victory in MotoGP with Suzuki, that is our main target, then what happens in the end for sure Suzuki are pushing a lot,” Rins said.

“We are pushing a lot to have the perfect bike to win the championship. We are working on the bike, on me, everybody. We are on the good way for sure.

“We did an incredible second part of the season and gave a lot of information to Suzuki to develop the bike and already in Japan, Sylvain Guintoli [Suzuki test rider], tried different chassis and different engines with more power, so wait for next year.

“The power and top speed is important but also other things are important. Last year we did a bad choice with the engine and we couldn’t fight for the podium.

“I haven’t tested it yet but Guintoli is riding the new engine a lot and says it is very good and very fast on the top the sixth gear so I’m very happy and excited to start on Tuesday.”

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