Suzuki Ecstar’s Alex Rins put on a MotoGP fightback to rival Marc Marquez at Portimao on Sunday.
Rins recovered 19 places in total - from 23rd on the Portuguese grid to fourth at the flag - in an electric performance, and with ten already dispatched in the opening revolution of the 25-lap race.
While the podium was just out of his reach in the closing stages, due to the demands placed on the Michelin tyres and the strength of the trio ahead, it was certainly a ride to celebrate for the Spaniard. Especially after his dismal start to the weekend on the Algarve.
“Was not that easy to do with so many riders, starting on P23 and finishing on P4,” Rins said on Sunday evening. “I struggled a little bit, more in the end of the race with the front tyre. Because I was pushing a lot during all the race to overtake the riders and I was like pushing the front to stop well the bike on the slow corners.
“I was thinking in the podium but sincerely when I tried to overtake Aleix he was a little bit more strong than me and from there, the last ten laps I start to struggle a little bit on the right corners with the front tyre. Sincerely the last four laps I saw that Oliveira was at 3.5 seconds and I prefer to stay on the bike. I prefer to finish the race because there are important points for the championship.”
Those important points means Rins leaves Portugal full of confidence ahead of his first home race and equal on points to reigning champion Fabio Quartararo at the head of the standings, with Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro just three behind.
“I'm super confident because this weekend was not easy for us,” he admitted. “Struggling a lot on Friday in wet conditions. Qualifying really bad yesterday for a mistake on the strategy. The contrast between yesterday and today is massive, yesterday we didn’t feel much like celebrating but now we can be happy with the race.
“I never stop believing in me, already from yesterday I knew that I was able to do a good race and we did it. Thanks to this, I was able to take this kind of points. We are equal points with Fabio.
"Is too early to think in the championship so now we will go to Jerez to enjoy the first Spanish Grand Prix and to see all fans coming to the track.”