With just three races left of 2022, Alex Rins provided the perfect present on Sunday as Suzuki Ecstar prepares to bow out of MotoGP, victory at Phillip Island.
And what a way to do it. After an epic island classic and four rider duel which went down to the wire Rins had both new series leader Pecco Bagnaia and eight-time world champion Marc Marquez firmly on his wheels. Just over two tenths covered the entirety of the podium after 27 laps of the unique circuit with seven riders within a second of the Spaniard at the chequered flag.
Completing a successful set, the 26-year-old has now claimed an Australian victory in every Grand Prix class, after his 2013 and 2015 wins in Moto3 and Moto2 respectively.
“Sincerely I’m so happy to get the victory here, Moto3, Moto2, MotoGP and also we deserved this one!” Rins said on Sunday after launching from tenth on the grid to claim the overall trophy. “We worked quite hard to get it.
“During the race was not that easy. The pace was not so high, but I was feeling quite well, managing the rear tyre, finding a good traction and lap by lap I was overtaking someone until I arrived there in the top four, top three.
“At that point I realised that they were riding so slow, in ’30’s, so I put in to the front to see if I was able to open a bit of a gap but immediately Pecco overtook me on the straight. So then I decided to stay behind him to save a little bit of the rear tyre. Going into the last lap on the straight, I knew that if I was starting quite close to him I had some options to overtook him exiting on the first corner, so we did it.
“I’m super happy because the team deserves, all the Hamamatsu staff also, they work really hard. And you know, is the last one for Suzuki in the Island so I’m blessed to know that it has my name.”
One place on the 4’5km layout in particular stood out on Sunday for the GSX-RR rider, as he scalped the majority of his rivals at the Southern Loop.
“Before start the race we make a plan, we put a cross on the corners that we were taking care on the tyre,” the Spaniard explained on his comeback strategy through turn two. “Especially here, on the right side you don’t need to take a lot of care so I was doing a good corner speed and I was asking a little bit more than the others on the rear. I was exiting a little bit with the spin, and this one was the key because it gave me a lot of positions there, then I was able to stop quite well the bike on corner two, except couple laps that Marc was a bit dangerous and he put the bike there but you know Marc! He’s riding like this so I was expecting, so I was preparing the outside. In some laps he put the bike in the interior then I prepare the outside and I overtook him before I arrived on the corner three but it was a really fun race.
It looks like Moto3! The respect was quite high so we need to do more races like this.”
With Suzuki winding down its operation in the MotoGP paddock from the close of Valencia, in less than a month’s time, a maiden win in 2022 was the perfect way for Rins to round out the season.
“For sure after the news goes out that Suzuki was not continuing on the championship, we didn’t get so many good results - I don’t know if it was for the luck or something like this. Also, we had many crashes, I was involved in many crashes with some riders, in Montmeló I broke my hand.
“After that, I think the key was never stop believing. Mostly in many races we had an incredible pace but I was starting so back on the grid. Also here a little bit but the chance to go Q1 then Q2, give me an extra confidence, extra motivation. So yeah, I’m happy.”