Alex Rins was left to curse a disastrous qualifying performance in Argentina that cost him the chance of challenging for a MotoGP podium place and limited him to a fifth place finish.

The 23-year old Spaniard had every right to label his latest outing “incredible”, after he made quick work of the riders ahead to rise from 16th on the grid to eighth by lap eleven.

But in Danilo Petrucci, Rins found a near immovable object. The Italian’s late braking prowess coupled with Ducati’s top speed advantage stalled the Suzuki rider’s progress.

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Had he not qualified on the sixth row, Rins was sure he had the pace to fight with – and perhaps even beat – Valentino Rossi and Andrea Dovizioso, who were scrapping for second place.

“We did an incredible race,” said Rins. “But what we missed for the podium was just a good qualifying. We could have arrived in the first positions. For sure with [Marc] Marquez, no. But I would have been there fighting with Valentino and Dovi.”

Still, Rins could take heart from another MotoGP top six finish – his ninth on the bounce – as well as an outing that once again displayed his battling qualities. And all on a greasy, dirty track, where going off line to overtake was something of a risk.

“Anyway, we did a good race,” he said. “The track was slippery, more than yesterday. It was easy to do a mistake. We did our race, lap-by-lap we were overtaking riders, which is not easy at this track.

“It’s a bit of shame because we lost a lot of time behind Petrucci. I [spent] eight laps behind him because of the Ducati’s speed. Also Petrucci and Miller were braking really hard.”

Had he made any overnight changes to prepare his GSX-RR for the 25-lap race?

“Sincerely we didn’t change a lot,” said Rins. “We did a little bit of set-up and some [tweaks to the] suspension. That was all. The rhythm yesterday in FP4, we did more or less the same rhythm in the race.

“On race day there was motivation and thanks to this I was able to recover a lot of positions. I feel happy and I’m looking forward to Austin.”

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