Team Suzuki Press Office – April 7.
Alex Rins: Qatar 4th/ Argentina 5th – 4th in series
Joan Mir: Qatar 8th/ Argentina DNF – 13th in series
With motorcycle racing in global lockdown due to the ongoing crisis, we look back at some of the highlights at this time in the 2019 MotoGP™ World Championship at the opening two rounds in Qatar and Argentina.
Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Alex Rins made an impressive debut aboard the new 2019 GSX-RR at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar on March 8-10th as his new team-mate, Rookie Joan Mir, scored a well-earned eighth position overall in one of the closest races at the circuit where the top five riders finished within half-a-second.
Rins started ninth but by Lap 4 was in the lead and continued battling for a podium position until the final lap where tyre management forced him just off the podium.
Mir started the floodlit race seventh, moved up to fourth during the middle of the race, but still ended his debut impressively among the experienced MotoGP regulars.
For Team Suzuki Ecstar, it was a great start to the season after all the hard work by Suzuki Technicians in Japan and the team in Europe during the winter months, plus the positive pre-season testing and a strong result coming away with Rins 4th and Mir 8th in the standings as they headed to Argentina for Round 2.
Fast forward to the end of March 2019, and the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit in Argentina where both Rins and Mir overcame some struggles in Qualifying to put-in a hard-fought comeback, although Mir suffered his first ‘downer’ of the season:
The Spanish rider suffered tyre management problems and gradually dropped backwards in the 41c heat as the race progressed, unhappy to have to pull out in the closing stages of the 25-lap race.
However, Rins, at one of his favourite tracks, continued a push through the field. The Spaniard had gained six places on his grid spot after seven laps and after setting a best lap, he found himself fighting within the lead group with 10 laps to go. But he kept his head in the game and rode smoothly in the heat, fighting his way towards podium contention and eventually took fifth position.
Rins left Argentina in fourth place in the series with Mir 13th after his retirement.
Next to come in this << BACK TRACK 2019 series is Circuit of The Americas, USA that took place on April 14th – a monumental moment for Rins and Suzuki. Keep tuned…