Alex Rins may have left Portimao empty-handed but he was the only rider able to take the fight to Fabio Quartararo during the second half of the Portimao MotoGP.

Unfortunately for the Suzuki rider he crashed out with just over six laps to go, meaning what looked like a guaranteed first podium of the season instead turned into a DNF and 38-point gap to title leader Quartararo.

"I'm still looking very happy? Yes, because I think I did a very good race," said Rins. "I was able to be there with the man to beat because since FP4, [Quartararo] was very impressive. And I was there, not easy, but riding well.

"Okay in the end we got zero points, but there are many races still. For sure it's a shame, but I'm quite happy, because I'm feeling strong."

But the Spaniard, whose three races wins to date is more than any other rider on the GSX-RR, feels he is often overlooked by his rivals.

"It’s strange because I’m racing in MotoGP since 2017. I think I can say that I was already competitive in 2018 and in 2019, 2020 I was quite strong, and always my rivals don’t put me on the bet! I don't know if it’s for a mental thing or why," said Rins, third in last year's world championship despite a shoulder injury at round one.

"But I’m happy for the way we approached this weekend because I was quite strong since Friday. Let’s see if we can start the Jerez weekend as we started here - and let’s see if they put us in the [favourites list]."

Meanwhile, Rins' laps glued to Quartararo's rear wheel also gave him a close-up look at the performance of the 2021 Yamaha.

"I saw a couple of things behind the Yamaha. One is that in the last corner he was a bit faster than me," said Rins, who had been the race leader until Quartararo moved ahead on lap 9 of 25. "We were struggling a little bit with our engine, but there are very, very similar bikes.

"It’s difficult to say. But I explained my feelings to the meeting with the Japanese with my team. They have good information for the future."

After Rins' exit, plus a similar lowside for Johann Zarco, team-mate and reigning world champion Joan Mir went on to take Suzuki's first podium of the season with third in Portimao.



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