Alex Rins (Barcelona) has just completed his third season with Team SUZUKI ECSTAR. The target was to improve on the results and podiums he achieved in 2018, and Alex stepped it up with two fantastic victories, as well as battling for the Top 3 in the Championship until the end. Next season he is focused on getting more podiums and keeping a close eye on the Championship.
Q: After three seasons with Suzuki, are you still discovering new things about the team?
A: Every day spent inside the team we discover something new about all the team members. It is like a family because we are travelling around the world together, working together, enjoying together, and struggling together. When we spend so much time together it’s normal to keep learning about each other.
Q: Let’s summarise the 2019 season, tell us about the positive things and the negative things…
A: Well, the most positive thing is the victories we had! As well as the podium we achieved in Jerez, and all the experience we gained during the season. Regarding the bad things, it would be the crashes and the mistakes made. Although in a strange way they are also something positive, because in the end we can learn from them and grow from them.
Q: This year has been fantastic for you, with 2 victories and fighting for the 3rd place in the Championship. Did you expect all this at the beginning of the season?
A: I was expecting to have good results and to get my first victory after such a strong 2018 season. In the end we managed two important victories, the one in Austin was my first ever win in the top class! And then the one in Silverstone was in front of Márquez at the very last corner, so that was incredible. But for sure we learnt a lot, and we are growing as a team, we have improved the bike step by step and despite the crashes we completed a very nice season.
Q: Let’s re-live that first victory in MotoGP in Austin, are you able to remember it clearly and describe your last lap there?
A: Uff! It was amazing. I remember I overtook Valentino with four laps to go, and I was pushing to the limit so I that I didn’t give him a chance of overtaking me again. And on the last lap I was able to keep my concentration, I was a little bit nervous and it was like an explosion of emotions when I crossed the finish line and I saw my team climbing up on pit wall! It was a unique experience and an unforgettable moment.
The win in Silverstone was unbelievable fighting with Márquez. I remember that race very well, behind him studying his weak points. At the end I defeated him by a few thousands of a second!
Q: Can you describe those emotions of winning your first ever MotoGP race?
A: It’s very difficult to explain, because it is like a mix of multiple emotions - not only from on the track, but also afterwards in the garage with all the team. It sounds cliche, but it really was a dream come true! It’s something I had aimed for since I was a little kid, so it was really special, and very difficult to properly describe.
Q: How did the unfortunate crashes in Assen and Sachsenring affect you?
A: It was a bit difficult to swallow when I crashed again in Germany after the crash in Assen. I thought: “Oh, not again!”. But I remember that thanks to my personal crew, and all the Suzuki team, I was able to handle the situation well. We focused on moving forward and embracing the future without worries.
Q: The next stop was Silverstone, the ultimate victory against Márquez…
A: It was unbelievable! Fighting with Márquez is always very difficult. I remember that race very well; all the laps behind him studying his strong points and weak points, trying to understand where was the best place to overtake him, and in the end I defeated him on the last corner by just a few centimetres, a few thousands of a second! It is also difficult to describe what I felt in that moment. It was more than happiness, I would say ‘ecstasy’, I guess.
Q: Do you feel there’s anything you missed out on 2019?
A: Sincerely, no. For sure I would have liked to win some more races but it didn’t work out like that and I prefer to let things take their course. We will have new opportunities next year.
Q: What areas do you think you and the factory should work on for 2020?
A: Suzuki have already worked on the new engine spec for 2020, and we can feel the difference. We are trying to improve the traction and the speed. In my case, I want to be more consistent in the races and try to crash less.
Q: With Suzuki working on increasing power, gaining more traction, and improving the acceleration… what are your first feelings with the new engine spec?
A: The first contact with it was very nice. I remember in 2018 when we had the new engine and I was a bit disappointed because It didn’t work very well. But this year I felt straight away that it had good performance. We tried the engine for the very first time in Valencia and we reconfirmed it in Jerez, to check that everything works well and to make sure it’s really better. I feel a bit more power and improved power delivery, and this is important.
For 2020 Suzuki have already worked on the new engine spec and we can feel the difference. We are trying to improve the traction and the speed. In my case, I want to be more consistent in the races
Q: We can see that you are a more mature and experienced rider now, but is there anything you’ll be focusing on in order to improve yourself?
A: I need to go to the gym more, and on the bike I must be more consistent during the races.
Q: How would you rank your season from 0 to 10?
A: I would say, 8.5.
A: Because I crashed three times, and I couldn’t put together a perfect season.
Q: Considering you achieved podiums and victories this year, is next season the time to attack for the World Championship?
A: For sure we will try to win more races, and be on the podium as much as possible. Then let’s see how it is going.
Q: How would you evaluate the performance of your team-mate and how much do you expect from him next year?
A: Joan is a very talented rider! Let’s see if he can be more competitive next year, which in turn will help me to improve the bike. At the moment he is still gaining experience, but I think next year will be better for him.