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Alex Rins at the 2019 Grand Prix of the Americas

Rins & COTA: The breakthrough!

Apr 152019

A studious chase, unwavering consistency and the attack on the master: Alex Rins fashioned a first MotoGP victory to remember for the third Grand Prix of the year and a dramatic and sun-kissed affair in Austin, Texas.

Bumpy and ruthless, the Circuit of The Americas was - once more – one of the hardest and twistiest stages of the MotoGP season. A spring thunderstorm on Saturday morning robbed all three classes of a Free Practice session but the skies overhead were deep and blue come Sunday and for twenty barrelling laps of action.

Another strong blue presence was Rins. The Suzuki-mounted Spaniard hunted the smoking rear slick of Valentino Rossi in a duel for second place until world champion Marc Marquez surprisingly slipped out of a clear lead on the way to what would have been a seventh successive flag at ‘COTA’. The spar between the 23 and 40 year old then took on more intensity: Rins almost tasting his first win in MotoGP and the first since 2016 and Rossi again in the hunt for his first triumph since the 2017 Grand Prix at Assen.

“When I was behind Valentino I was 1.5 seconds [adrift], more or less,” Rins said. “I was saying: ‘come on, Alex, you need to arrive, you need to do a bit of a spectacle.’ Finally it was like this. I arrived to Valentino. I was studying him. In the end when he made a small mistake I overtook him. I did the last three laps, four laps in the first position and took it to the end.”


Rins became the third different winner in three rounds in 2019 and a situation that sees four riders split by just nine points in the championship. “I tried to stake out the last lap,” Rins said, aware a strong attack was coming from the master and icon of the series. “I knew that Valentino has a lot of experience in this case…I’m super happy. My feeling is incredible: I beat Valentino! This guy was my hero when I was young. Suzuki deserves this victory. Together we deserve it, so we need to continue in the same way.”

“It’s a mixed feeling,” Rossi smiled of the half second divide at the line. “From one side I’m feel sorry because it is a long time that I haven’t won and today was a great opportunity. But on the other side, I’m happy because it was a good race. I was strong also during the weekend and also last weekend in Argentina. These 20 points are very important for the championship - that is open - so it is more positive than negative. My problem is that Rins was faster at the end! He rode very well.”


Petronas Yamaha’s Franco Morbidelli made the top five for his best MotoGP finish yet in just his second season while Pecco Bagnaia also took his Ducati into the top ten. Joan Mir and Maverick Viñales were penalised with ride-through penalties for jumpstarts and the rapid Cal Crutchlow sadly slid out of the running with Rossi and Rins after just five laps.


Elsewhere Luca Marini provided a tussling highlight in Moto2 by fighting incessantly with Alex Marquez for fifth position and the Italian star lost out by two tenths of a second at the flag while countryman (and VR46 Academy-mate) Andrea Migno lifted his first trophy since Mugello 2016 by taking a hard-won third place in Moto3.


Another continent awaits. After treks to Qatar, Argentina and North America MotoGP returns to the cycle of European mainland venues. A three-week freshening up period will precede the teams and riders gathering at one of the most atmospheric venues on the slate – Jerez in the heat haze of Southern Spain.