Alex Rins says his tussle with Marc Marquez during MotoGP qualifying at Brno last year was the moment he realised the reigning world champion viewed him as a rival.

Riding on a tricky damp track in the Czech Republic, Rins was on a fast lap when he caught a slower-moving Marquez, the pair subsequently making contact as the Suzuki rider barged through a narrow space.

Marquez responded with a close pass of his own before pulling into pit lane. Rins followed, accelerating alongside before fading across the front of the Repsol Honda rider, who reached out with his arm to put some space between their machines.

"Marc is so good at these mental things, he plays a lot with all the riders," Rins told the official MotoGP website.

"For example in Brno last year, I was on a fast lap, he looked behind at me and opened the line a little bit, but not too much. I was on the dry line and I touched him. I lost my lap, but I continued pushing. Then in the last chicane he overtook me so closely, we were so close to a crash, and then he went into pit lane.

"From that moment, I said to myself, Marc is considering me as a rival."

Rins - who declared "Marquez has no respect for other riders" immediately after the incident - got his revenge in the form of a thrilling last-corner victory pass on Marquez a few weeks later at Silverstone.

"Marc is the man to beat and the rivalry is so high," Rins said. "More in 2019, because I shared more moments on track with him.

"For sure whenever he finishes just in front of me, I'm a bit angry, I want to beat him. But also for him. I remember when I beat him in Silverstone he was so, so angry."

Rins added: "I like this because it means that I'm doing a good job. Marc is an incredible rider, winning a lot of races and championships, and if he thinks of me as a rival, it means I'm there fighting him."

Rins took two wins on his way to a best-yet fourth in the 2019 MotoGP standings.



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