Winning by leading 16 laps, a stressful experience for Álex Rins

The tenth Grand Prix of the MotoGP season consecrated an eighth winner in the person ofÁlex Rins. On the sidelines at the start of the season because of a heavy shoulder injury whose consequences he has long felt, the Spanish driver came out of the woods this Sunday afternoon when “his track” at MotorLand Aragón seemed to be doing the pride of Yamaha.

Qualified tenth, he stood out as soon as the lights went out and quickly managed to catch up with the early leaders until Maverick Viñales took control in the eighth lap. He still had 16 to complete as a leader if he wanted to go for a victory, unprecedented for him in such circumstances. Despite the return of his teammate, Joan Mir, and especially the pressure exerted until the finish by Álex Márquez, Rins did manage to follow through and give Suzuki his first victory of the season.

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After so many difficulties this season, congratulations on your return to victory, moreover starting from the fourth row! Tell us about your race …

We had a really good race. It’s the first time I’ve won by being in the lead. My last two victories, I got them by fighting against Valentino [Rossi] and to Marc [Márquez]. It was a bit more difficult, because you can easily go wrong when you’re in the lead, but I tried to keep my cool, and frankly I drove pretty well.

It was hard. On my sign I saw that Joan and Álex were coming back very strongly. I tried to keep my calm, to keep some rubber for the end of the race because when you run with the soft at the back it’s not easy to stay constant, but we finally managed to get this first place for Suzuki. We’re doing a really good job, getting a lot of podiums. It means they worked really hard during the preseason. This victory, they really wanted it and it ended up happening, so I’m very happy.

You had your last victory fighting against Marc Marquez. This time it was Álex!

That’s crazy. In the last laps, I knew that Joan Mir was behind me, that he was trying to push me and pass me, but three laps from the end I saw on my panel: 0 “4 on Marquez… I got ‘wow, another Marquez!’ It was clearly not easy to stay calm, to be first and not to make mistakes, but we got there.

It wasn’t always easy this weekend: was there a turning point at some point?

Not many people were betting on me for the win, but I was very calm. On the grid, I studied the trajectories that I could take at the start. I started very well, and very quickly I found myself fourth or fifth, in a fight against the Yamaha. Once behind them, I could see that they were having a little trouble being fast. When I was behind Maverick, given that he had shown over the weekend that he really has a better pace than anyone, I thought he was going to escape. But I stayed very sunk behind him and at one point I decided to pass him and do my race, to build a small lead.

Do you feel like you’ve proven something compared to Mir by winning when you’ve had a difficult season so far?

This year, we really struggled to get that first place. I think I had the potential to do it in a lot of races, but it never happened, either for a mistake or for a crash. It is finally coming and I am very happy, because it was not easy. A lot of people told me that I had to be calmer, because I fell twice, in Austria trying to pass Dovi to take the lead and then Le Mans in the wet. But I knew I had that potential and that I also had the bike to do it.

Being in the lead from the eighth to the last lap, was that race stressful?

It was difficult to stay calm, especially on this track where there is a lot of braking on the angle and where you can easily make a mistake, brake a little late and widen. So I was a little worried, but I tried to ride the way I can. In all the races I have done before, I was in pursuit, this is the first time that I am in the lead and I am quite happy with it, it is clearly an experience to keep.

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What emotion does it give you to win here? Is this your best race?

It’s clear that it’s great to win here in Aragón, because I have very good memories here, from when I was young and spent the summer here with all my friends. Foremost in my memories, I still keep the fight with Marc Marquez at Silverstone, for me it was the best. But here I was in the lead for a lot of laps and it’s not easy to stay calm and not make mistakes, so that’s good. I wish I could celebrate it with all the fans, but it is not possible because of the situation, so I want to dedicate this victory to all those who are suffering from COVID.

Despite your injury and crashes in Austria and France, you are only 36 points behind Joan. Do you think you still have a chance in the championship?

We will try to tackle the races one after the other. Winning the title this year promises to be quite difficult, because Joan is very fast and very consistent. It would be crazy, because I fell a lot, I recorded a lot of blank scores, I had a lot of trouble and I was also injured. So I will clearly move forward race after race and give the maximum, I have no pressure. We’re getting ready for next year, that’s clear.

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