Alex Rins says it was a thrill to watch his speedometer hit the 350km/h (217mph) mark during free practice for the Italian MotoGP as his Suzuki proved competitive at Mugello.

Though Rins has produced a series of fine Sunday performances this season, the Spaniard has lacked in single lap pace on Saturday. However, after setting the seventh fastest time, the youngster – currently third in the standings after a win in Austin – believes he has found a good direction already.

At the very least, Rins was excited to be hitting a huge – albeit Ducati-assisted - 350km/h top speed down the home straight.

“Practice went well, and I’m provisionally in Q2. I tried some tyres today and I found that I liked both the hard and the medium front. I’m not doing anything differently to Le Mans, but I feel much better here, and my times are better.

“Setting the fast lap was exciting, I was behind Dovizioso on that lap, and it was nice to get 350 kilometres per hour. Compared to last year we’ve improved on top speed, but also in other areas such as cornering.”

Team-mate Joan Mir was similarly dsatisfied with his performance, ending up 15th just 0.8secs off the top spot.

“I’m pleased with the work done today; I’ve improved a lot. We’ve approached this first day in a calm way, just learning and understanding the best lines and the best way with the bike.

“I’m losing around six tenths in the last sector, so if we can improve that part of the track then I’ll be able to fight near the front. My aim is to get directly into Q2 tomorrow.”

 

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