Front-running Rins heads to scene of first MotoGP podium

After a strong performance in Qatar, Alex Rins and Suzuki head to a circuit where the Spaniard took his first rostrum one year ago.
Front-running Rins heads to scene of first MotoGP podium

On paper, Alex Rins and Suzuki should be at the sharp end of this weekend's Argentine MotoGP.

Although the Spaniard finished fourth at the Qatar season opener, he joined only winner Andrea Dovizioso and runner-up Marc Marquez in leading a lap and finished less than half-a-second from victory.

Meanwhile, the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit was the scene of Rins' first MotoGP podium one year ago.

“I’m happy to go to Argentina because the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit is a layout that I like," Rins said. "The layout is very fast, which suits my GSX-RR’s characteristics, and we have good memories from here as last year I got my first MotoGP podium.

"The circuit itself is a good mix: it has very fast corners but also two very slow corners, and the straight is long but it has a very long fast corner where we can exploit the characteristics of my bike and have fun!”

"We are all excited to go to Argentina after the great opening round we experienced in Qatar," added team manager Davide Brivio. "Our main objective for the season debut was to continue with the same performance level that we left in 2018 and then to improve further, and Alex perfectly matched this plan with his fight for the podium throughout the whole race, taking the lead a few times too.

“The Argentina GP last year was a good one for us, with Alex capable of managing the tricky conditions that we encountered on track, and finally getting his first MotoGP podium.

"Our main goals for this upcoming GP will be to keep Alex close to the top of the sheets and to give Joan [Mir] a good package that allow him to learn as much as possible. It won’t be easy for him as it will be his first time on a MotoGP machine on this circuit.”

Mir finished as the top rookie on his MotoGP debut, in eighth place.

"The opening round in Qatar was a very positive one for me. I was not expecting to be so competitive at my very first race and it was very exciting to find myself among the top group with the more experienced riders. It was good not only for the race itself but also for the opportunity I had to learn," Mir said.

"At the end of the race I had to give up the pace because of the progressive consumption of the tyres, and so the race management is one of the aspects I will need to work on. But now it’s time to think about Argentina, which is kind of a question mark for me with the MotoGP bike.

"We haven’t done any testing here, and I expect that the early runs will be needed to simply understand how to ride properly. The circuit itself is very nice, and may suit well the GSX-RR, but it will also be tricky in terms of the conditions.

"In 2017 I got my first victory of the season in Moto3, so I also have good memories from Termas de Rio Hondo, and I hope that they will be replaced by even better memories with the top class.”