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Saturday’s haven’t quite gone to plan for Team Suzuki Ecstar in 2019. Alex Rins’ best qualifying result before the Motul TT Assen was a P7 in America, with rookie teammate Joan Mir getting his best starting position in both Qatar and Barcelona with a P11.
However, that changed on Saturday afternoon under glorious clear blue skies in the Netherlands as the blue machines shone to secure P3 and P5 respectively. Rins has had to battle through from lowly grid slots at every race this season, with the only anomaly coming at the French GP with a P10 finish. At the other six rounds, Rins’ Sunday race craft has been nothing short of superb but now, starting from Row 1 after progressing from Q1, the Spaniard gives himself a fantastic chance to go one better than he did in Assen last season.
Rins: "We have a clear idea for tomorrow"
“It was hard, for sure, having to come from Q1. I gave 110% to get into Q2 and I was feeling quite strong,” began the number 42 rider. “We started Q2 with a used tyre on the rear so when I saw I had done the best lap time I was a bit like ‘wow’. I knew I’d improve a little with the new tyre and that’s what happened, I improved by a few tenths.
“I think for tomorrow we have a clear mind. It’ll be a hard race, but we will do a good job. Since Friday we have worked in a good way, so I think this comes from our work. We will fight for the win; we have a good rhythm. The two Yamahas are really strong, so if it’s not like last year with seven riders in the front group, it’ll still be five or six, so it’ll be tough.”
There’s no doubt Rins will be aiming for his second win of the season on Sunday, but what about teammate Mir? A P6 last time out at the Catalan GP was his best MotoGP™ finish and starting from P5, there’s no reason why the 2017 Moto3™ World Champion can’t go even better in Assen.
MotoGP™ Q2 in Assen: The fight for pole position
“I think we have a good pace. In FP4 we were close to the top guys, so I think we’re in a good way,” explained an upbeat Mir. “We are working a lot on the bike with new tyres to try find something more so we can start the race in a better position, and it looks like the work is paying off. I’m happy about this and for the team also to have two Suzukis in the first two rows, so let’s try and enjoy tomorrow.”
The last Suzuki winner at the TT Circuit Assen was MotoGP™ Legend Kevin Schwantz in 1993 - a race which saw two Suzukis start from inside the top five. Rins will have his eyes set on that piece of history, with Mir gunning for another top six premier class finish. Is a Suzuki storm brewing in the Netherlands? Find out when the lights go out at 14:00 local time (GMT+2).
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