Team Suzuki Press Office – September 4th
Alex Rins: 7th (+ 12.496)
Kazuki Watanabe: 21st (+ 1 lap)
Typically, when we come to Italy, there’s plenty of drama. Today the San Marino GP offered up another battle with high tension and high attrition. Team Suzuki Ecstar’s riders, Alex Rins and Kazuki Watanabe both did well to stay out of trouble and bring home finishes.
The late summer downpours that had rolled around circuit during race week stopped on Sunday and it was a hot and sunny Misano World Circuit with an excitable Italian crowd for the 28-lap race. Alex Rins had a steady start from his 12th place grid spot, but after the melee in the opening laps with several messy crashes, Alex kept it clean and moved into 8th spot. Rins proceeded to set two fastest laps and close in on the group in front of him. At around the half-way point, Alex was able to battle for 7th place, a position he eventually maintained until the finish line - which gave him a boost in terms of points.
Meanwhile, Kazuki Watanabe enjoyed his first MotoGP race debut and made it to the end, he did particularly well at the start to hold 18th position. The Japanese stand-in rider closed the race in 21st place.
“Overall, I’m quite happy because despite starting from 12th position I did have some good pace. It was always going to be really tough to beat the Ducati riders here, so I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy job today. After I passed Martin for 7th place I ran wide and went off the track, then I had to spend some laps coming back to overtake him again. It was a very physical race, and I even felt a bit of arm pump when I was pushing to make positions. So, it wasn’t really the finish I wanted, but I know I gave my all.”
“I’m quite happy to finish the race, and now I can officially say I’m a MotoGP rider!
I’ve said it many times already; but I’m so happy to be here and the experience has been amazing. Finishing the race gave me extra confidence with riding and the whole weekend has been a dream come true. Despite being an endurance rider, I found the full race distance very tiring with some arm pump from all the hard braking. Then, in the last phase of the race I managed to do my fastest lap of the whole weekend, so that was good.”
Livio Suppo – Team Manager
“Alex didn’t have a very easy race, but at least he was able to get some points in the bag.
So, while it’s not the position we were looking for, we’ll take it. Kazuki did a great job in his debut race, he was very close to finishing the race without being lapped, but when he knew that the leaders were catching him, he went wide to avoid getting in their way. It’s been a pleasure to have Kazuki with us, but we hope to see Joan back in Aragón, where we’ll try for better results with him and Alex.”
Ken Kawauchi – Technical Manager
“We’re not particularly satisfied with these results, but Alex tried the best he could. He struggled a bit on the overtaking and the gaps were opening up in the field. He set some fastest laps, and he was looking strong, but he was too far from the front and had to settle for 7th. Thank you to Watanabe-san for the very good job he did this weekend, he hadn’t ridden a MotoGP race before and it was a difficult situation and he managed to finish the race, I feel he did the best he could. Let’s look ahead to the next race in Aragón.”