Alex Rins indicated some relief in becoming the eighth different race winner of the 2020 MotoGP World Championship season with victory in the MotoGP Aragon race having been criticised for being too rash in accidents while running at the front in Austria and France.

Starting from ninth position, with more eyes on his title-contesting team-mate Joan Mir in sixth, it was Rins that nonetheless stole the headlines on Sunday as he powered into the lead early on before demonstrating impeccable defensive riding to hold off Alex Marquez at the end.

His third career MotoGP win, whereas his first two successes in COTA and Silverstone were achieved with late duels when coming from behind, this time Rins was in control for the majority of the race.

Inspired by a superb start - straight lining the run-into Turn 1 on the outside while rivals jostled and lost momentum inside him - Rins immediately jumped from ninth to fourth, before picking off the Yamahas one by one as they slipped back. 

Talking the lead on lap seven, Rins held firm on his own for much of the race before staying calm amid Marquez’s late attack.

“We did a really good race, this is my first win from leading the race [leading for a long period], the last two wins was fighting Valentino [Rossi, COTA] and Marc [Marquez, Silverstone] but this one was more difficult, because it’s easy to do a mistake when you are leading but i tried to stay calm and I felt i was riding quite well. 

“On the pit board, I could see Joan and Alex coming very fast but I tried to maintain calm, tried to keep the tyres for the end of the race because racing with the soft rear, it’s not easy. This first position for me and Suzuki, we are doing a really good job with podiums and this win shows how they have worked this season. For sure, they really want this victory.

“Not a lot of people were pushing [expecting] me for victory but I was calm, I studied the line at the start and we did a good start and suddenly I was fourth fighting with Yamahas. When I was behind them I could see they were suffering a little bit to be faster.  I was behind Maverick and he demonstrated in the weekend he had a quicker pace than everybody, but now we will go.  I found it easy behind him so I decided to overtake him, do my race and open a gap.”

Rins’ win is just the latest twist in an extraordinary 2020 MotoGP season, one that now sees his Suzuki team-mate Joan Mir leading the standings with four rounds to go, even though he isn’t one of those eight riders to have topped the podium. 

It could have been a different story in the standings had Rins not been caught out by an energy sapping shoulder injury from round one, while he threw away shots at victory in both Austria and Le Mans after crashing from strong positions. Without those he could have been up with Mir in the standings, so Rins admits there is some relief to be had from changing the subject of his season.

“We have struggled to get this first position. I had the potential in a lot of races but in the end they never came, this first position for a mistake or crash. Finally it has arrived and I am so happy for this, because it was not easy. 

“A lot of people say to me ‘you need to be calmer’ because I had two crashes trying to overtake Austria for the lead and Le Mans in the wet, but I knew that I had this potential and I have the bike to do it.”