He received his Christmas gift in the summer, when Suzuki offered him a two-year contract renewal, thus selecting him over Andrea Iannone. We're talking about Alex Rins, who scored five podiums during the 2018 season to finish in fifth place overall.
“I feel at home in Suzuki and am pleased to stay for two more years – comments the Spaniard - I'll have the same responsibilities as before, even without Iannone. We're all working hard on the team with the aim of reaching the top”.
What changes with Iannone leaving and Mir arriving? Do you feel the weight of responsibility?
“Andrea leaving doesn't change anything. I personally have more experience than I did two years ago, though Iannone is of course a strong rider. Responsibility doesn't worry me, in fact it spurs me on and gives me strength.”
Next year the team will be looking to take the final step, or rather securing a race win.
“We've had a positive 2018 and are already looking ahead to next season. The bike is in development and there is still work to do on the details. From what we saw in the recent tests, I'd say we're close to the top”.
The new season will get underway with testing in February.
“We'll work to define things at Sepang, so that we're prepared when we get to Qatar. I don't know what we'll find in Malaysia, though they assure me that they're working hard in Japan”.
How great is the gap between Honda and Ducati?
“There is still a gap, but it's smaller. Honda, Ducati and Yamaha clearly have something more, but let's not forget that Suzuki has only recently returned to the championship”.
What do you think about the Marquez-Lorenzo pairing?
“They're both strong and I'm interested to see them together".
You mentioned Yamaha. Do you think your bike is superior in some ways, considering the 2018 results?
“i wouldn't know to be honest, also because Maverick was quick in testing. I'm sure that once the season starts, both he and Valentino will be up there at the sharp end”.