Rins: We'll stay grounded

'We’ll stay grounded and not get carried away' - Alex Rins and Suzuki just one point from MotoGP title lead.
Rins: We'll stay grounded

1-2 results in Austin and Jerez have put Alex Rins and Suzuki within one point of the MotoGP World Championship lead heading into this weekend's Le Mans round.

Despite qualifying no higher than seventh this season, Rins has made up at least six places on race day for a worst result of fifth.

With that in mind, what could Rins and the GSX-RR do from the front of the grid?

It's a question Honda's title leader Marc Marquez might also be asking, his Jerez comments about the lack of pressure on Rins perhaps signalling Marquez is taking the threat from his fellow Spaniard seriously.

Rergardless, Rins - the highest-placed Suzuki rider in the premier-class after the opening four races since Kenny Roberts Jr in 2000 - has vowed not to get 'carried away'.

"The latest results have been very positive, but we’ll stay grounded and not get carried away. We need to follow our path, which is to improve race by race," said Rins, who briefly tried Suzuki's version of the swingarm device at the Jerez post-race test, only to break it in the gravel.

"We know that Le Mans can be a tricky circuit for us as it is mainly ‘stop and go’, but at the same time the growth we’ve done with the bike compared to last year, and my increased experience could be two important factors for a good race in France.

"We know the points we definitely need to work on to improve further, one of them is qualifying. We must be aware that we have a competitive package and we need to keep the positive trend to place ourselves at the top."

A French GP winner in the Moto2 class, Rins finished just tenth at Le Mans last season.

Crew chief Manuel Cazeaux admits it's not a great track for the GSX-RR, although Maverick Vinales put the bike on the podium in 2016.

"Le Mans is a classic European circuit and it’s tricky from a technical point of view," Cazeaux said. "80% of the track is ‘stop and go’ with braking at angles and hard acceleration from low speed.

"You need good traction as the tendency is for the bike to wheelie. In the past it’s been a hard track for us, but every year is different, and we hope for a good result here.”

Rins' team-mate Joan Mir crashed out at Jerez but posted the sixth best time at the Monday test.

The rookie has been on the podium for the past two seasons at Le Mans in Moto3 and Moto2 respectively, including victory in 2017, but just wants to see the chequered flag on Sunday.

“The most important thing about Le Mans will be to recover from the disappointment of Jerez, so finishing the race will be the priority and then after that we will evaluate the performance," said Mir, pointless since Qatar.

"Despite my recent results, I am pretty happy and we feel that we are following a positive path, with solid progress session after session.”