Alex Rins was at a loss to explain the lack of comfort felt throughout the first day of MotoGP free practice in Qatar, as the Spaniard struggled to find a setting that allowed him to ride at speed without pushing his bike's limits.

The #42 Suzuki was one of the stars of preseason, and went as far as declaring there was nothing left to improve on GSX-RR on the final evening. But on Friday he felt “completely different” to two weeks ago.

The day was by no means a disaster for the Ecstar Suzuki team, as Rins placed eighth and rookie team-mate Joan Mir tenth, results that more ore less confirm their place in this afternoon’s Q2 shootout.

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But the 23-year old Spaniard is keen to understand what was lacking, and will seek set-up changes for Saturday’s sessions.

“My feeling was not the perfect one – completely different compared to the test,” he said. “This morning we had some problems on the grip area. I was waiting for the night to solve these problems.

“But there is still something [missing]. I don’t feel comfortable. I was faster than the test by 0.2, but it was not enough. I don’t feel good on the bike.”

What felt different? “Grip level,” he said. “When I start in FP1 I felt like less grip on the bike. I was thinking it was the conditions. Our set up was for the night. In the afternoon I had the same problems – little less, but mostly the same.

“I improved the lap time from the test but I was riding not comfortable, not like I like. I don’t know. We need to work hard. Everybody went super fast this evening. We need to think of something.

“Race pace was not so bad. I tried to a small long run in FP2. It wasn’t so bad, but we need to continue working.

“More or less in the entry of the corner. I don’t have the support as the test. It’s exactly the same bike. I don’t know. We need to check.”

 

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