Having spent much of last year's MotoGP campaign battling back from a dislocated and fractured shoulder at round one, Alex Rins probably breathed a sigh of relief when he left the 2021 Qatar season-openers holding a solid fifth in the early standings.

Little did the Suzuki rider know it would be two and half months before he scored another point.

Enduring the worst run of results since his 2012 Moto3 debut, Rins fell in the next four races, then broke his wrist when he hit a stationary van while writing a text message during some bicycle training at the Circuit de Catalunya.

It was a costly lesson for the Spaniard: "If you pay attention to the phone, you don’t pay attention to the cars or the street. I prefer to hit a van as I did, than to hit a person. It would’ve been even worse. So, this was a clear example."

Rins returned, after surgery, to finish eleventh at the Sachsenring but was looking much stronger a week later at Assen, where he made early progress to fifth on the opening lap.

However contact during a rough pass by Johann Zarco sent Rins wide and to the back of the field. Although able to recover 11 places, Rins could only match his eleventh from the Sachsenring.

All of which has left Rins with a score of just 33 out of a potential 225 points by the summer break and a lowly 14th in the world championship.

That's also 68 points less than team-mate and reigning world champion Joan Mir (fourth overall), a rider Rins has out-qualified in seven of the eight events they have both competed in.

"It's difficult to rate [this first half of the season], because we have good speed, good pace, but it's also difficult to finish a race for me," Rins said.

"I have a very good team behind me. My personal team, my racing team, we are working quite hard all the days, and for sure we didn't get the results this first part of the season. But especially [Assen] I was feeling quite good."

The triple MotoGP race winner revealed that, in response to his run of falls, the team decided to try a switch to his 2020 GSX-RR set-up at Catalunya.

The bicycle wrist injury meant that had to be delayed until Sachsenring, where he was still riding sore from surgery. Nonetheless, the results so far have been positive.

"Sincerely, since Sachsenring, where we went back to the set-up we were using last year, I was feeling quite good," Rins confirmed.

"I think I was sixth before the rain arrived [in the German GP] and [at Assen] I was in a good position [until the Zarco incident]. It's difficult to understand, but I think we can do a good second part of the season."

Last season's late charge saw the #42 climb from twelfth to third overall during the final five rounds, including a victory at Aragon.

Ten rounds officially remain this season, but the 123-point gap to Fabio Quartararo means Rins' title hopes have again already been dashed.

It's also prompted speculation that Rins, who has a deal until the end of 2022, may find his seat under pressure from Maverick Vinales in future.

"Maybe Maverick will return to Suzuki," Suzuki legend Kevin Schwantz told Speedweek.com.

Former Suzuki race winner Vinales is to leave Yamaha at the end of this season.

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