Rins targets time-attack weakness

Alex Rins and Suzuki fast in the races, but yet to start higher than tenth in MotoGP 2019.
Rins targets time-attack weakness

Having charged from tenth to fifth in Qatar followed by a 16th to fifth recovery in Argentina, Alex Rins and Suzuki badly need to qualify better at this weekend's Austin MotoGP.

"With Alex we were able to see how competitive he can be in the races; with the extraordinary recovery he did from P16 to P5. But on the other hand we also saw how much we have to improve in qualifying to get a better grid position," confirmed team manager Davide Brivio.

"At Termas we put together a good race, without a single mistake, which really pleased me. But we also highlighted one of our weaknesses; I need to be faster on the time attack to get a better starting position," agreed Rins, whose former team-mate Andrea Iannone put the GSX-RR on the rostrum at COTA one year ago.

"The Circuit of The Americas will be an interesting challenge, the circuit is intense as it has some very fast sectors combined with slow ones. It’s also very physical, being on top form will be crucial for good riding and a strong result.”

Rins' crew chief Manuel Cazeaux outlined the areas of the circuit where the Suzuki should be strong (it's not the long back straight…)

"The Circuit of The Americas is quite a challenging circuit with many different types of corners; some fast and flowing, and some very long. But there is hard braking too, so it’s very demanding on the tyres," he said.

"We have some parts of the track where we tend to be very strong, like sectors 1 and 4. The hard acceleration going onto the long straight means the bike has a tendency to wheelie and you have to work on the setup and electronics to counteract this. Every year is a new story, let’s see what the 2019 GSX-RR can do.”

Rins' new team-mate Joan Mir failed to finish in Argentina, retiring due to a 'strange' feeling from the rear tyre. He is now tied for the rookie of the year lead with Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT).

“After the tough race in Argentina I’m definitely looking forward to Texas, not only to aim for a better result but also – and most importantly – to get back the positive feeling I had in Qatar and during the whole winter," said Mir, who was eighth in Qatar.

"The team and I have spent the down time between races to better understand what went wrong at Termas and to learn from our mistakes, so I’m confident we will redeem ourselves in Austin! COTA itself is not one of my best layouts, but in the past I was able to be very fast here, so I’m not too worried.”

"Joan went through an ‘apprentice’ weekend and learnt from a tough race, which gave him important lessons and gave our engineers important hints and paths to follow," Brivio added.