Team Suzuki Press Office – April 24th
Alex Rins: 4th (+ 9.633)
Joan Mir: DNF
The Grand Prix of Portugal brought sweeping highs and crashing lows for Team Suzuki Ecstar as Alex Rins crafted a superb fight through the field from 23rd on the grid to 4th. And Joan Mir, who was in the running for a strong podium, was wiped out 7 laps from the end of the race.
The 25-lap race started under threatening clouds but the GSX-RR riders had their minds clearly set on their potential. Joan Mir took the ‘holeshot’ from 2nd on the grid and Alex made a very fast progression from 23rd up to 11th. On Lap 4 Joan lost the lead to Fabio Quartararo but the Suzuki man’s determination kept him up the front, despite struggling with a lack of feeling.
While Joan was fighting to keep the Ducati riders behind him, Alex was swiftly moving up the order, taking 6th on Lap 8 by sweeping through on his nearest rivals. But it was all to change when a mistake from Jack Miller under braking at Turn 1 took Joan out of the race as the pair hit the gravel trap at speed with 7 laps to go. Both riders were OK.
This meant that Rins - cool and calm after his calculated carve through - had moved into 4th place, he held the chasing pack at bay and maintained this spot until the chequered flag.
Alex Rins now holds 2nd in the Championship, equal on points with Fabio Quartararo (69 a piece), and Team Suzuki Ecstar continue to lead the Teams’ Standings.
“It was a good race for me, I finished quite a long way up considering my grid spot. These points are very important, and it’s great to have moved up the standings; I’m now in second place, on equal points with Fabio. Honestly, I believed in my potential today, even if it seemed tough from so far back. I knew I could have a good rhythm and a strong finish. The contrast between yesterday and today is massive, yesterday we didn’t feel much like celebrating but now we can be happy with the race. Now let’s go to Spain and Jerez!”
“It was really hard to push in this race, I was struggling to attack. After my good start I was just trying to get the best position possible, and I sort of went into defence mode. What happened with Jack was obviously frustrating, but mistakes can happen in racing and I’ve also made similar mistakes in the past. It was a racing incident and nothing deliberate. It's a shame not to score any points here, but we’ll move onto Jerez now and try to find the best settings to give me a good chance of fighting.”
Livio Suppo – Team Manager
“Like yesterday, it’s mixed feelings for us. Of course, we’re really sorry for what happened to Joan, it was a racing incident, but it was a pity because he was doing a great job at the front. Alex did unbelievably well, and even though he got 4th partly due to the crash involving Joan, he did a lot of hard work and gave a solid performance to work his way up the results. It gives us a good feeling heading into Jerez, and hopefully the weather will also be on our side there!”
Ken Kawauchi – Technical Manager
“In Portimão we had potential to fight for the podium, and for Joan we thought even a win was possible. In the end the race didn’t work out as we’d hoped, and Joan crashed with another rider while in a good position. This is racing, and sometimes things don’t work out. On the other hand, Alex did a super recovery job to finish 4th, which is very positive and it keeps up his consistent finishes of the season so far. We’ll go directly into a new race week now and we’re looking forward to it.”