2021 hasn’t been the season that Alex Rins and his Team Suzuki Ecstar squad would have been hoping for when the paddock landed in Qatar for the opening two races of the season. Injuries have hampered Rins’ last two campaigns but at the Monster Energy British Grand Prix, the Spaniard made a long-awaited return to the rostrum.
After badly injuring his shoulder and upper arm in a huge Spanish GP qualifying crash, Rins’ 2020 title challenge was an uphill struggle from the get-go. However, five podiums in six races from Barcelona to the first Valencia round – including victory at Aragon – saw Rins claim third in the Championship standings. A lot of people had Rins down as one of the favourites for the 2021 crown, with both he and reigning World Champion Joan Mir looking formidable for large parts of 2020. Unfortunately for Rins, his charge hasn't come to fruition.
A cycling accident while riding his bicycle at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya this year saw Rins miss the Catalan and Dutch rounds with a broken arm. Crashes have also blighted the number 42’s 2021 campaign. But Rins’ speed has never been in doubt, so it was no real surprise to see the Spaniard back fighting at the front at Silverstone, a track he won at in 2019.
The old Rins, the Rins we’ve become accustomed to seeing, returned at the British GP. A fantastic P2 was bagged for him and Suzuki, so can it now act as a springboard for the rest of the season? Rins and Suzuki will certainly be hoping so.
“I’m super happy for this second position because I was checking the world standings and since the first part of the championship, we get a lot of zeros, a lot of crashes,” said Rins, speaking in the post-race Press Conference. “Finally, I will say that we have the level, we have the pace and finally we finish again on the top. I’m super happy because starting from P10 it’s not easy. I was trying to overtake as soon as possible. All the team deserves this position, also myself. Let’s try to keep this performance because I think we can get it.”
Rins goes on to speak about MotorLand Aragon – the next instalment in the MotoGP™ World Championship. It’s a track Rins pocketed a P1 and P2 at in 2020, and while Rins notes how difficult it will be to repeat those performances because of how strong his rivals are, the 25-year-old has been given a much-needed boost from his Silverstone performance.
“It’s true that last year we did a good result with first and second in two races. But this year everything changes. There are the Yamahas, the Ducati, the Aprilia, the Honda… quite strong. So, let’s see if we can continue on this shape. With this way of work I think we can reach more podiums.
“For sure it’s a boost for me and for the team because during the first part of the season we struggled a lot to finish the race in a good result. But I believe in me and my team believes in me that since the first race we were able to be there. But I think as I said before, it will be difficult to be constant because the rivals are so strong. But let’s try to keep this work. Let’s try to go race by race. Next race is Aragon, a place where I think that we are quite fast. So, let’s see how it’s going.”
Is this the turning point in Rins’ season? We’ll find out when the paddock heads to Aragon for Round 13 of the season.