Rins, Suzuki 'ready for top step' at Valencia

'We want to go for the top step of the podium! We’ve proved that we are ready for it'– Alex Rins, Valencia MotoGP.
Rins, Suzuki 'ready for top step' at Valencia

Alex Rins has his sights set on fighting for a debut MotoGP victory in this weekend's Valencia season finale.

Suzuki hasn't won since Maverick Vinales in 2016, but Rins and team-mate Andrea Iannone have put the GSX-RR on the rostrum eight times this year, including the last three races in a row.

"For sure we arrive in Valencia with a lot of enthusiasm, due to the improved performance and the podiums. Our target now is pretty clear and also obvious: we want to go for the top step of the podium!" said Rins, runner-up last time at Sepang and fourth at Valencia last year.

"We’ve proved that we are ready for it, the bike has improved and so has my riding, we have to work well and try our best. The circuit is a good one, almost all the riders like Valencia, and our GSX-RR can be a good machine for this layout.”

Rins is currently tied on points with Johann Zarco (Tech3 Yamaha) for fifth in the world championship.

Fifth is as high as Rins can get in the standings given the maximum 25-points remaining, but Iannone - 16 points behind his team-mate - has the mathematical chance to jump from ninth to fifth should he score highly and his rivals falter this weekend.

Valencia will be Iannone's final Suzuki appearance before being replaced by rookie Joan Mir. The Italian will switch to Aprilia for 2019.

“Valencia is a nice track and it could be good for us. Last year we qualified on the front row and both Alex and I had a good race. If we consider how much we improved since 2017, we can definitely expect a positive weekend," Iannone said.

"We are in a really good moment now; I’m feeling positive and also in Malaysia I felt I could fight for the podium. Let’s try to give all we have, be consistent and always stay close to the top, that way we can aim for a good result. It would be a nice way to part.”

Rins and Iannone have taken four podiums each this year, with Rins runner-up twice and Iannone once.

"We arrive in Valencia after a run of great results. We’ve scored 4 podiums in last 5 races, and 8 in total so far this season," said team manager Davide Brivio.

"We are delighted with how we’ve managed to turn the situation around compared to last year. In Valencia we will try again, we know it’s not easy but… why not? We always try our best.

"I’m sure the riders also have extra motivation: it will be Andrea’s last race with us so he will try to bow out with a great result. While Alex will be at home in Spain and the two podiums in the flyaways have given him further confidence. Let’s enjoy this last race!”

Suzuki's 2018 form means they will join Honda, Ducati and Yamaha in competing without technical concessions next year.