Alex Rins struggled to hide his frustration at a late crash that abruptly ended his qualifying efforts at the Circuit of Barcelona and forced him to start Sunday’s MotoGP race from eighth place.

While a host of riders were baffled by the lack of grip offered up by the year-old track surface on Saturday afternoon, the Suzuki man showed exceptional pace in FP4. Following Maverick Viñales in Q2, the 23-year old was then on course to qualify on the front row.

But a crash at the tricky turn ten ended those hopes and saw the Spaniard eventually demoted to the third row. Rins did, however, take comfort from the GSX-RR’s ability to drive and find traction despite encountering spin on corner exit.

“You know, I'm a little bit disappointed, because we had a small crash in qualifying, so maybe I was able to start on the first or second row,” he said. “But anyway, the rhythm was not so bad.

“I think compared to the other guys, with Fabio [Quartararo], maybe [Marc] Márquez, we are more or less there. We will see what happens. For sure it will be maybe a little bit hotter than today, so we are on the right way.

“The grip level was not so bad for us. For sure a big difference compared to yesterday. The grip for us was very good this morning, this afternoon it was OK. As I said, it's a little bit different, the grip level.

“It looks like the track has grip, but in the moment that you are at the maximum angle and you try to open to get good traction and you start to slide a little bit, then you pick up the bike a little bit and you go. So you need to find something.”

At Mugello Rins enjoyed an electric opening to the race, quickly rising from 13th on the grid to fight with the leading quartet. He did find that his Suzuki was regularly outgunned on the track’s notorious main straight.

Does he foresee something similar happening at the Circuit of Barcelona, which also boasts an extensive start-finish straight?

“For sure it's completely different,” Rins said. “Finally here, the power delivery is different. In Qatar, you exit in second gear, and then you have 1 km of straight. This straight is also long, but you exit fast, and also its shorter. So I think it's completely different.”

Many riders appeared unsure and even confused by the Michelin tyre choices that were open. Rins, however, was typically unflustered, and seemed assured when stating the ‘medium’ rear would be his most likely option.

“For us the soft was good, just for one or two laps,” he said. “For sure we can do the race with the soft, we haven't excluded the soft to do the race, it's one possibility. But for sure, for just one lap time, I was more comfortable with the medium than with the soft.”

 

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