until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League


Rins yet to live up to promise of his finest hour in MotoGP

by Simon Patterson
4 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

The last time that MotoGP came to Silverstone for the British Grand Prix back in the pre-COVID times of August 2019, Suzuki racer Alex Rins delivered what is hands down the standout performance of his premier-class career so far, by defeating reigning world champion Marc Marquez in a last-corner duel at the iconic circuit.

But since then, things haven’t quite worked out for the Spaniard. Sure, he became a race winner again at the Aragon Grand Prix last season, and he finished the 2020 championship in a perfectly respectable third place overall last year, just two places behind world champion team-mate Joan Mir.

Despite those successes, though, it feels like something has been missing for Rins as he fails to quite capitalise on the potential it looked like he had when he defeated Marquez in fine style back in 2019.

Alex Rins Suzuki MotoGP 2019

So what’s gone wrong? Well, the most obvious answer is Rins’ consistency. When you look at his record, especially in 2021, the one thing that stands out most immediately is that he simply isn’t very good at finishing races. Out of the eleven races of 2021 so far, Rins has finished just six of them in the points – and has so far failed to make the podium in any of them.

Incredibly, all of those non-scores have come as a run of five, where Rins crashed four times then broke his wrist in a frankly careless cycling accident, texting rather than looking where he was going and colliding with a parked van on the Circuit Barcelona back in June.

It seems, when you look back at his record, like every time he has a run of bad form, it becomes easy for him to lose his way – and it takes the 25-year-old a little bit of time to get back to the high level that he’s shown he’s capable of operating on.

What’s even worse is when those crashes come for him. On most of the occasions when he’s fallen from races, it’s happened under very similar circumstances – when he’s under pressure at the front of the race.

Alex Rins crash Le Mans MotoGP 2021

Either leading or battling for the win when he falls, it’s a chink in his armour that his rivals must be well-aware of now – and while it’s far easier to spot the problem than to figure out how to fix it, it’s one he has to work on.

There’s another problem that magnifies that even more, though – his physical fragility. It seems like Rins is, like some riders tend to be, a little more prone to injury. Just like Dani Pedrosa was seemingly unable to avoid breaking something every time he crashed, Rins has seen both of his past two seasons set back by injuries from crashes that on the face of it were relatively minor.

The first of them came before even the first race of the year in 2020, when he fell heavily during qualifying at Jerez. Dislocating his shoulder and failing to start the opening race put him on the back foot for much of the early part of the season. The results eventually came – but even with four podiums in five races late in his campaign, it was too late to take the fight to his team-mate Mir.

And the same thing happened again in 2021, when a frankly stupid crash while cycling aroung the track in Barcelona broke his wrist right when he needed to be getting himself literally and figuratively back on his feet, once again slowing what could have been a good run of tracks for the Suzuki GSX-RR.

Alex Rins Suzuki MotoGP

But it’s not all doom and gloom for Rins as MotoGP heads back to the scene of his finest triumph for the first time in two years. Looking relatively strong (if not quite a victory contender just yet) all weekend on the bike so far, he’s keen to use this weekend as a chance to measure his current level and to springboard a better half of the year for the second season in a row.

“It can be that this weekend is a reference for me,” he said. “If you look two years ago, and take out the Sunday, it was a catastrophic weekend for me. This year we still have some problems, but we are riding quite well, and my feeling is that I’m racing good. The feeling has come back.

“Let’s wait and see what happens in the race, but for sure this can be a reference weekend for us.”

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