until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League


‘Everyone expected more’ – Suzuki reckons with its Qatar letdown

by Simon Patterson
4 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

The opening race of the 2022 MotoGP season was something of a disappointment for the factory Suzuki duo of Joan Mir and Alex Rins, only managing sixth and seventh despite starting the race among the favourites. Yet despite the poorer-than-expected results, the 2020 world champion and his team-mate are remaining upbeat about their potential for the remainder of the season.

Mar 08 : A fairytale start to 2022 - Qatar MotoGP review

That’s in part because both riders seem well-aware of where things went so wrong for them at the Lusail International Circuit – even if their race woes manifested at different ends of their respective GSX-RRs.

“Honestly, I’m a bit disappointed,” Mir said afterwards, “because I didn’t expect this would happen in the race. I made a good start, my feeling was really good – and then I started to have trouble with the tyres.

Joan Mir Suzuki MotoGP Alex Rins

“I think a lot of people had problems with the front, with it moving around, and this is something normal because it’s a soft tyre and this track, if you’re riding in 1[m]54s, then the front will move for sure. If you’re in front, you have less trouble than if you’re behind, so this is normal.

“But what happened with the rear grip, this is something that we must work a little bit more on. The rear drops a lot, and I was having a lot of problems making the bike go forward. Normally, I take a lot of care of the bike, of the tyre. It’s an area where I always try to take a lot of care, but for some reason the grip was never coming and I was getting a little bit slower and slowe, struggling more and more to go forward.”

And with similar issues for the other side of the garage for Rins, it seems very much like a recurrence of a somewhat regular issue for Suzuki – the presence of only two machines on the grid and the subsequent absence of data leaving them just a little bit short come race day.

“When I remained alone after overtaking Jorge Martin,” Rins explained, “Joan was the rider in front and I was pushing to catch him – but I had a lot of problems with the front.

Alex Rins Suzuki MotoGP

“Something that never happened before, the braking stability was good but going into the corner I was having problems.

“I am the kind of rider who can brake hard and reduce the speed of the bike, but the problem is that going into the corner with angle, I had some problems with the front. It was closing. Maybe the soft tyre was a little too soft for us, but I don’t know.”

With a somewhat spotty consistency record in 2021, though, Rins was acutely aware of one of the hardest lessons to learn from last season in the opening round of this year’s – staying on the bike in a race where pushing too hard could have easily left him in the gravel.

“After this,” he said, “I preferred to finish the race than to go onto the floor, to crash. We have 20 races more, we’ll analyse what was the problem here, and try to learn for the next one.”

That’s the attitude shared by team-mate Mir as well. With the longest season ever ahead and with the knowledge that Suzuki’s new and improved bike is only likely to get better as time goes on, the former champion isn’t panicking just yet about his season opener.

Joan Mir Suzuki MotoGP

“I couldn’t make the last part of the race that I expected,” he added. “It’s disappointing for the team as well, because I think everyone expected more. But I have trust in my team and I think we’re doing things well. The race pace was a lot faster than last year, the level was a lot higher, and we more or less fought to be strong. We always want more, but it’s only the first step.

“Everyone else struggled and yes, this makes it a little easier. There will be surprises this year, people who will be strong. The important thing is to make this a bad race for us, and for this result to be the beginning of a learning process for our team and for me, to try and build a good championship with more consistency and better results.”

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Email
  • More Networks