Another battle with high tension and high attrition San Marino MotoGP

MGP-14-Kazuki Watanabe-R9

Team Suzuki Press Office – September 4.

Alex Rins: 7th (+ 12.496)
Kazuki Watanabe: 21st (+ 1 lap)

Typically, when we come to Italy, there’s plenty of drama. Today the San Marino GP offered up another battle with high tension and high attrition. Team Suzuki Ecstar’s riders, Alex Rins and Kazuki Watanabe both did well to stay out of trouble and bring home finishes.

The late summer downpours that had rolled around circuit during race week stopped on Sunday and it was a hot and sunny Misano World Circuit with an excitable Italian crowd for the 28-lap race. Rins had a steady start from his 12th place grid spot, but after the melee in the opening laps with several messy crashes, he kept it clean and moved into eighth spot. Rins proceeded to set two fastest laps and close in on the group in front of him. At around the half-way point, Rins was able to battle for seventh place, a position he eventually maintained until the finish line – which gave him a boost in terms of points.

Meanwhile, Watanabe enjoyed his first MotoGP race debut and made it to the end; he did particularly well at the start to hold 18th position. The Japanese stand-in rider closed the race in 21st place.

Alex Rins:

“Overall, I’m quite happy because despite starting from 12th position I did have some good pace. It was always going to be really tough to beat the Ducati riders here, so I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy job today. After I passed Martin for seventh place I ran wide and went off the track, then I had to spend some laps coming back to overtake him again. It was a very physical race, and I even felt a bit of arm pump when I was pushing to make positions. So, it wasn’t really the finish I wanted, but I know I gave my all.”

Kazuki Watanabe:

“I’m quite happy to finish the race, and now I can officially say I’m a MotoGP rider!
I’ve said it many times already; but I’m so happy to be here and the experience has been amazing. Finishing the race gave me extra confidence with riding and the whole weekend has been a dream come true. Despite being an endurance rider, I found the full race distance very tiring with some arm pump from all the hard braking. Then, in the last phase of the race I managed to do my fastest lap of the whole weekend, so that was good.”

Livio Suppo – Team Manager:

“Alex didn’t have a very easy race, but at least he was able to get some points in the bag. So, while it’s not the position we were looking for, we’ll take it. Kazuki did a great job in his debut race, he was very close to finishing the race without being lapped, but when he knew that the leaders were catching him, he went wide to avoid getting in their way. It’s been a pleasure to have Kazuki with us, but we hope to see Joan back in Aragón, where we’ll try for better results with him and Alex.”

Ken Kawauchi – Technical Manager:

“We’re not particularly satisfied with these results, but Alex tried the best he could. He struggled a bit on the overtaking and the gaps were opening up in the field. He set some fastest laps, and he was looking strong, but he was too far from the front and had to settle for seventh. Thank you to Watanabe-san for the very good job he did this weekend, he hadn’t ridden a MotoGP race before and it was a difficult situation and he managed to finish the race, I feel he did the best he could. Let’s look ahead to the next race in Aragón.”


1 Francesco BAGNAIA Ducati Lenovo Team 41’43.199
2 Enea BASTIANINI Gresini Racing MotoGP 41’43.233 0.034
3 Maverick VIÑALES Aprilia Racing 41’47.411 4.212
4 Luca MARINI Mooney VR46 Racing Team 41’48.482 5.283
5 Fabio QUARTARARO Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP 41’48.970 5.771
6 Aleix ESPARGARO Aprilia Racing 41’53.429 10.230
7 Alex RINS Team SUZUKI ECSTAR 41’55.695 12.496
8 Brad BINDER Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 41’57.860 14.661
9 Jorge MARTIN Prima Pramac Racing 42’00.931 17.732
10 Alex MARQUEZ LCR Honda CASTROL 42’05.185 21.986
11 Miguel OLIVEIRA Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 42’06.884 23.685
12 Andrea DOVIZIOSO WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team 42’12.475 29.276
13 Raul FERNANDEZ Tech3 KTM Factory Racing 42’13.632 30.433
14 Stefan BRADL Repsol Honda Team 42’14.967 31.768
15 Takaaki NAKAGAMI LCR Honda IDEMITSU 42’15.746 32.547
16 Darryn BINDER WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team 42’25.056 41.857
17 Marco BEZZECCHI Mooney VR46 Racing Team 42’33.758 50.559
18 Jack MILLER Ducati Lenovo Team 42’36.570 53.371
19 Remy GARDNER Tech3 KTM Factory Racing 42’39.812 56.613
20 Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO Gresini Racing MotoGP 42’40.503 57.304
21 Kazuki WATANABE JPN Team SUZUKI ECSTAR SUZUKI 41’47.165 1 lap

Not classified:
21 Franco MORBIDELLI Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP

Not finished first lap:
5 Johann ZARCO Prima Pramac Racing DUCATI
51 Michele PIRRO Racing DUCATI
44 Pol ESPARGARO Repsol Honda Team HONDA


1 Fabio QUARTARARO 211
2 Francesco BAGNAIA 181
3 Aleix ESPARGARO 178
5 Johann ZARCO 125
6 Jack MILLER 123
7 Brad BINDER 115
8 Maverick VIÑALES 101
9 Alex RINS 101
10 Jorge MARTIN 94
11 Miguel OLIVEIRA 90
12 Luca MARINI 82
13 Joan MIR 77
14 Marco BEZZECCHI 68
15 Marc MARQUEZ 60
16 Takaaki NAKAGAMI 46
18 Alex MARQUEZ 35
19 Franco MORBIDELLI 26
21 Andrea DOVIZIOSO 15
22 Darryn BINDER 10
23 Remy GARDNER 9
25 Stefan BRADL 2
26 Michele PIRRO 0
27 Lorenzo SAVADORI 0
28 Kazuki Watanabe 0

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