Alex Rins has confirmed rumours that Suzuki is set to join MotoGP rivals Ducati, Aprilia and now Yamaha in using a holeshot device to help with race starts.

But the Spaniard added it might no longer be enough just to lower the bike on the grid.

Rins believes Ducati has already refined its system so riders can also compress the rear suspension on the straights, again to improve acceleration by reducing the tendency to wheelie.

The lower bike might also have a slightly smaller frontal area and therefore less aerodynamic drag.

There is nothing in the rules to prevent a holeshot device being used in such a way, as long as it is still done via a mechanical (not electrical) switch that is activated only by the rider.

"Suzuki is working on this, if not at the Qatar test I think [it will be ready for] the Qatar race. They are developing," Rins said of the upcoming GSX-RR holeshot device.

Rins agreed it wouldn’t be a surprise if all six manufacturers had a holeshot device by the start of the European season "because in the end, these are small things that are improving.

"Already last year we saw a little bit something on the straight for the Ducati, that the rear part was going down… Let's see, we need to innovate!"

As at the start of the race, if activated on the straight the holeshot system would presumably release the suspension once the rider hit the brakes.

The Ducatis might be tough to match from a standing start and in a straight-line, but the Suzukis of Rins and team-mate Joan Mir set a better race pace during the opening 2020 test at Sepang.

Rins was quick on two different types of chassis during back-to-back runs on the final day in Malaysia. He also posted the third fastest time (+0.101s) with a new tyre, which was "important for us" after the qualifying problems of 2019.

"Today the plan was to test the new tyres from Michelin and do a small simulation of eight laps to compare the chassis. The standard with the new one.

"Sincerely we've been very fast this morning but also very consistent on this comparison with the chassis. All the laps in '59. I'm quite happy because we improve my personal lap time here and also the race pace."

Rins said he had felt "a little bit more comfortable with the new chassis. They are very similar but looks like with the new one I have a bit more stability in braking. It helps me to stop the bike, to reduce a little bit the effort. But we need to compare again in Qatar."

The double 2019 race winner confirmed that Suzuki looks to have taken a step forward over the winter, relative to the competition.

"We are where I want to be. I think with all the work Suzuki has done we can be more close… we have good corner speed and good drive."

Team-mate Mir, entering his second MotoGP season after an injury-stunted rookie campaign, also has high expectations.

"It's hard to say, but I think we can do great things this season," Mir commented. "We will see… now I want to see the bike working in cold conditions.

The former Moto3 champions was tenth fastest (+0.387s) on the ultra-close timesheets, but a long run - although interrupted by a small crash - was close to the level of Yamaha's Maverick Vinales.

"I planned a race run, 15 laps but I suffered a small crash. So I made 12 laps and then 5 or 6 laps after that. The bike changes a lot when the tank is full and moves a lot in this heat so it's nice to compare," he said.

Mir also felt the new chassis was more stable under braking, although - like the fellow inline four-cylinder Yamaha - top speed remains a concern.

"Top speed is not our strongest point," he said, although the latest Suzuki tweaks had helped make it more "smooth in the mid-range and the first touch on the throttle is quite nice."

On the plus side, the added grip from the 2020 Michelin rear tyre seems to be boosting the corner speed-dependent inline machines.

Overall, the young Spaniard left Malaysia feeling "more optimistic for sure. From the first day we arrived, we were strong and close to the top guys. Now it's important to continue like this."

The final pre-season test takes place in Qatar from February 22-24

 

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