Alex Rins believes Suzuki has made a 'very important step' with its GSX-RR MotoGP engine for 2022.

The end of the covid technical freeze means Suzuki is able to alter its engine design for the first time since Qatar 2020.

The factory was the first to test a 2022-spec engine with its MotoGP race riders at the Qatar test in March. The engine has steadily evolved since then, leading to the version seen on track during the final outing of the year, at Jerez last week.

“We worked with the new engine, some new fairings, general set-up, swingarm, many things!" said Alex Rins, who set the sixth fastest lap time.

"And we’re happy with how things are going, especially with the engine which seems to have more speed and power. After a back-to-back comparison with the 2022 engine and the 2021 engine, we can feel that we have made a very important step.”

If the engine is living up to expectations, it seems the latest aerodynamics will need further modifications.

"Looks like the engine is working good but we still need to work in some [aerodynamics]," Rins said.

"We tried different fairings that more-or-less were working quite good. Not the big effect that we were waiting for. But looks okay. Looks like we are doing a good package for next year."

Asked if he knew who the new Suzuki team manager will be, Rins reiterated: "We will have someone, but sincerely I don’t know who and I didn't ask. I'm in that phase [where] I'm asking more for a better cowling!"

Rins and team-mate Joan Mir (ninth fastest) were joined on track not just by Sylvain Guintoli but also Japanese test rider Takuya Tsuda.

Combined with the numerous new parts, it was a strong signal that the factory is taking seriously former world champion Mir's concerns that bike development was too slow this season.

"To have Sylvain here is a good thing," Rins said. "I was talking before with him and sincerely we have the same comments about the new chassis, new engine. So this means we are going the same way. This is important."

Guintoli added: “We are going through a period of intense testing now, with many days spent on track as we have many items to try. Tsuda and I are doing a lot of work to deliver Joan and Alex some good options, and it looks like they are giving important improvements.

"Suzuki has worked on many, many items such as engine, chassis, fairings, electronics and other smaller details. Some of them are big changes, others are minor, but overall there is a lot to try."

Suzuki Project Leader and Team Director Shinichi Sahara left the test satisfied: "I must say that the early feedback is very positive and we will go forward with our minds set in the right direction.”

Rins and Mir will next be on track at the Sepang test, next February.