MotoGP: Rookie Rins out to beat Viñales’ record

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Suzuki’s MotoGP rookie Alex Rins has given himself a lofty target for his first season with the factory come the start of the championship in March – to beat the rookie record of the rider he replaced, Maverick Viñales.

Viñales also graduated from Moto2 to the Suzuki squad, finishing his debut season in 12th – a goal that Rins says is his target, along with beating his fellow Moto2 graduates Sam Lowes, Johann Zarco and Jonas Folger.

“From what I saw in Valencia, the goal will be to end the season Rookie of the Year – and beat the riders I was racing against in Moto2. That’s the goal I’m giving myself at the moment. Maybe when I’ve done more laps and I’m more settled in, it will change – top 15, top 10… I have no idea.

“Obviously it’s going to be a lot of pressure, because I’m replacing Maverick at Suzuki. And I have always been racing him and battling with him in the smaller categories. And in Moto2, he left Paginas Amarillas HP40 and I joined them, so there’s always been a bit of comparison. But hopefully that will continue in MotoGP due to me having had two incredible seasons. I’ll try to equal what he did – or even beat it.”

However, the transition hasn’t been an easy one so far for him, with a bad crash at the end-of-season Valencia test leaving him battered and bruised – and realising just how physical the premiere class is!

“I had a whole month in the corset and trying to rest, because back injuries are something to take seriously. The crash was a strange one because I fell, and then a couple of laps later my teammate, Andrea Iannone, fell in exactly the same place. We went through the telemetry trying to determine the cause but we didn’t find anything. I took the same trajectory, the front wheel locked, and I lost it.

“The physical side plays a much bigger role in MotoGP than in Moto2. We already saw that in Valencia. I ended the first day a bit tired and we changed my training routine to get a bit stronger – and be able to handle the MotoGP machine more easily.”

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Simon Patterson

By Simon Patterson

MotoGP and road racing reporter, photographer, videographer