Alex Rins has given himself 8.5 out of 10 for his 2019 MotoGP campaign with Suzuki having gone through ‘ecstasy’ highs with his maiden wins along with the lows of an inconsistent season.

The Spaniard matched Maverick Vinales’ 2016 feat of securing fourth place in the MotoGP riders’ world championship for Suzuki, with the pair also equalling John Hopkins’ fourth place in 2007, to take the Hamamatsu factory’s best results in the modern era of MotoGP.

Rins produced two standout moments this year with his maiden premier class wins, the first seeing off Valentino Rossi at the United States Grand Prix and the second at the British Grand Prix in an incredible last-corner overtake on Marc Marquez.

By the midpoint in the season Rins was tipped as a world title contender as he surged into the top two in the standings but back-to-back crashes at Assen and Sachsenring dampened his chances.

As a result, Rins reflects on his third season in the premier class as clear progress but with room for improvement having appeared on the podium on just three occasions out of 19 races in 2019.

“I would say, 8.5 [out of 10]. Because I crashed three times, and I couldn’t put together a perfect season,” Rins said.

“I was expecting to have good results and to get my first victory after such a strong 2018 season. In the end we managed two important victories, the one in Austin was my first ever win in the top class.

“And then the one in Silverstone was in front of Márquez at the very last corner, so that was incredible. But for sure we learnt a lot, and we are growing as a team, we have improved the bike step by step and despite the crashes we completed a very nice season.”

Naturally his two wins at Circuit of the Americas and Silverstone were standout moments for the 24-year-old.

“It was unbelievable,” he said. “Fighting with Marquez is always very difficult. I remember that race [British MotoGP] very well; all the laps behind him studying his strong points and weak points, trying to understand where was the best place to overtake him, and in the end I defeated him on the last corner by just a few centimetres, a few thousands of a second.

“It is also difficult to describe what I felt in that moment. It was more than happiness, I would say ‘ecstasy’,

“[In Austin] I remember I overtook Valentino with four laps to go, and I was pushing to the limit so I that I didn’t give him a chance of overtaking me again.

“I was a little bit nervous and it was like an explosion of emotions when I crossed the finish line and I saw my team climbing up on pit wall! It was a unique experience and an unforgettable moment.”

With Suzuki’s main focus for 2020 to improve its engine in terms of increasing power and gaining better traction, Rins is confident his team is developing in the right direction after struggling with its engine choice across 2017 and 2018.

“Suzuki have already worked on the new engine spec for 2020, and we can feel the difference,” he explained. “We are trying to improve the traction and the speed.

“The first contact with it was very nice. I remember in 2018 when we had the new engine and I was a bit disappointed because It didn’t work very well. But this year I felt straight away that it had good performance.

“We tried the engine for the very first time in Valencia and we reconfirmed it in Jerez, to check that everything works well and to make sure it’s really better. I feel a bit more power and improved power delivery, and this is important.”

 

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