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Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) came home in ninth on his MotoGP™ debut in Qatar, and was the top rookie first time out. motogp.com caught up with the Spaniard to talk pressure, first impressions and where he aims from here.
How do you feel after the first race?
Alex Rins: “I have a lot of confidence in the bike and it was really good. Now I just want to keep going this way, something that isn’t easy because setting up a MotoGP bike isn’t so straightforward. But it’s clear the team and the bike are on a good level. I hadn’t really tried to imagine the first race, but you can go from 15th to the top ten if you’re consistent and you have the right tyres. I knew I needed to make a good start to get a good position and everything went perfectly. We had a great first lap and from then on my feeling on the bike was great on every lap.”
You also had some good battles…
AR42: “I wasn’t as confident in this aspect – overtaking in MotoGP is really hard but I had a great battle with Lorenzo and Petrucci in the middle of the race. The I was able to pass Folger on the last lap at the penultimate corner – which also gives me a lot of confidence.”
That helped you come home top rookie, just ahead of Folger.
AR42: “We have to work hard from Friday on! We have to improve in the timed sessions, but it’s clear the Yamahas are very strong. Viñales is really quick and Zarco and Folger have shown they are really competitive, so there’s big competition for Rookie of the Year.”
Have you talked to your teammate about the bike after Qatar?
AR42: “Although it doesn’t seem like it, we don’t have much time after a race so no I haven’t been able to talk to him. Before the race we talked a lot and we agree the bike is really good. We’re both really invested in the project.”
Do you see Viñales as your reference point at Suzuki?
AR42: “No. At the end of the day it’s my first year in MotoGP, and the team knows that. Everything is new and we just keep working to finish as well as we can.”
Next is Argentina and Austin. What’s your goal ahead of getting back on home soil in Jerez?
AR42: “After how Qatar went we’ll just try and maintain that level. I want to improve in practice so we can be more ready for the race – but if we keep this level we’ll get good results.”
Are you feeling more pressure in MotoGP™?
AR42: “I’m loving it more than ever – there’s no pressure, I just can’t wait for the next race!”
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