Suzuki duo battle to double top seven in Thailand

Both Alex Rins and Joan Mir were satisfied but left wanting more after qualifying woes and a lack of fitness halted a podium charge

Team Suzuki Ecstar had both Alex Rins and Joan Mir inside the top seven of the PTT Thailand Grand Prix, which left the duo satisfied but definitely wanting more after the pair felt one key issue each halted any possibility of attacking for a podium finish.

Rins was again left frustrated by a disappointing qualifying performance that saw him outside of the front two rows of the grid for the eleventh time in 2019. Despite three visits to the podium this season, including two victories coming in America and Great Britain, Rins has only been inside the top six on a Saturday this season on four occasions.

The Spaniard was again able to pull it out of the bag on a Sunday, however, to secure fifth place in Buriram and limit the damage, with Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) now edging ever closer to him in the fight for third place in the World Championship.

"I would have liked to have finished in front of Dovi,” said Rins, who now sits four points clear of Viñales in the fight for a World Championship podium finish. “I tried but it was very difficult. On the straight he had more speed than me, but we’re happy with fifth. We recovered five positions from the start but, for sure, we need to try to start further up the grid because our pace was good enough for fourth or maybe third. We need to try to improve our qualifying because, as we already know, the races where we started on the first or second row, it was much easier to fight for the podium."

Mir, meanwhile, claimed the third top seven finish of his MotoGP™ career after again taking the fight to some more established names. The rookie even fought off Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) for seventh and was left thinking on another day he could’ve taken sixth away from Petronas Yamaha SRT’s Franco Morbidelli.

Instead, the former Moto3™ World Champion said he faded in the closing stages of the race, with the humidity and heat that Buriram offers proving too much as he continues his recovery back to full fitness following his horror crash at the Brno Official Test in August.

"I’m satisfied," said Mir. "I’m happy about the work that we’ve done not just this weekend, but since I had the injury. After the crash, every round we’ve been closer and closer to the top guys and that’s clear for everyone to see, so that’s why I’m so happy.

"On the race itself, it was so physically demanding. For me, the hardest we have on the calendar for sure. The truth is that these conditions affected my race today because in the last ten laps I started to slow down and suffer with the injuries I had from the crash. I haven’t had a lot of time after the crash to get fully fit and to be honest, I’m not at 100% physically just yet, and to race here in Buriram you need 150%.

"Top seven is pleasing though and it shows we’re coming. I enjoyed the battle, the last laps were a shame, but I’m still happy. It looks like our progression is continuing and that’s the most positive thing."

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