Rins has saved his MotoGP reputation but the future looks bleak


It’s fair to say that five-time MotoGP race winner Alex Rins has had an eventful career up to this point, with many ups and downs – some of the latter of which have largely been his own.

Still, it’s hard not to sympathize with the former Suzuki rider for having a superb opportunity snatched away from him in 2022 – and left with an uncertain future amid the aftermath of a tumultuous season.

Ironically, the moment he stepped out of the ranks of the MotoGP factory riders is at the point where he has fully restored the reputation he had when he got on the grid – a reputation that has been pretty tarnished since was. But given his career to date, the situation he now finds himself in for 2023 could throw him off track.

Rins first entered the premier class in 2017, moving up to Suzuki after just two seasons and four wins in Moto2. He made the move before some might think he was ready for it, but veteran team boss Davide Brivio clearly saw potential others had missed in the then 21-year-old Spaniard, and Rins was an instant hit with the team even in a difficult one stage of their developmental path.

He joined as part of a brand new cast alongside Andrea Iannone. The plan was that the relatively experienced Italian would lead the development of the GSX-RR while Rins learned his trade in the premier class – but he quickly took on increasing responsibilities within the team as the problems it was facing became apparent .

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With Rins making his debut at the end-of-season tests at Valencia and Jerez, the responsibility for choosing the direction of the team’s homologated and unchanging engine specification lay with Iannone – and it went in the wrong direction, giving the team a millstone around that neck it had to wear for the rest of the season.

Then came the Grand Prix of the Americas in Texas, just three laps later, where a bad crash and consequent broken wrist meant Rins had to sit out for two months, severely hampering the progress of his debut season.

The 2018 season started better with a first round two podium in Argentina, but it also established something of a pattern for Rins: when he’s fast, he’s blazing fast, but he’s also fickle and (at least at this point of his career) doesn’t respond well to pressure.

That remained a trend, not only throughout the season but for the next three, with 2019, 2020 and 2021 establishing him very strongly as a consistent contender for podiums and someone who could win his day – but also as a driver who was as likely to fall while leading as to run away to victory.

Three wins in three seasons, at Austin, Silverstone and Aragon, his intervening years at Suzuki will likely be remembered for those victories as well as for the string of crashes when good results were offered – a trend that sadly culminated at the Catalan Grand Prix 2021

Unable to finish the last four races, he needed a result at his home race to get back on track but ended up not even starting. Driving down to the track on Thursday before the start of practice, Rins quite foolishly drove straight into the back of a parked van on the main straight of the Barcelona circuit while texting, breaking his wrist and retiring from the weekend .

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It might have been a downright silly thing to do, but it was also apparently the kick ass he needed to make himself realize, weird enough. He crashed just twice in the remaining 11 races of the year, returning to the podium at Silverstone. It looked like Rins was finally on the right track, which he backed up at the start of 2022.

Fast from the start – and for the first time in their tenure together arguably more competitive than teammate and 2020 World Champion Joan Mir – Rins took two podiums and two more top-five finishes in the first five races, meaning he exited the Portuguese Grand Prix level on points with reigning champion Fabio Quartararo at the top of the standings and Suzuki firmly in control of the teams’ championship.

And that’s when everything went wrong for Rins again – albeit this time completely out of his control. Suzuki announced at the next round of the series that it would be unexpectedly eliminated from the championship at the end of the year, and the team’s title ambitions ended immediately as both riders slumped in form.

Rins returned to his former habits, failing to score a point in five straight races and then remaining anonymous for the rest of the year – or at least until MotoGP headed to Phillip Island for the Australian Grand Prix in October.

It was there that we realized just how talented Rins is, with a stunning win over Marc Marquez and eventual world champion Pecco Bagnaia – a win he backed up in fairytale style a few weeks later at Valencia when he ensured Suzuki signed off in style , by winning what appears to be the final race of the series.

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But even if he had spectacularly signed off from Suzuki, that didn’t change the fact that he remained unemployed for 2023. By the time the exit bomb landed, he and Mir were deep in negotiations to stay with the team. Look elsewhere, and while his former teammate found a works seat at Repsol Honda, Rins was less fortunate and was forced to settle with the Satisfy satellite status at LCR Honda.

And what that holds for his future might not be fantastic news. Jumping from the friendliest machine in the series in the form of the Suzuki to a career-killing, rider-busting Honda that’s the polar opposite of the GSX-RR, Rins must be careful not to revert to old habits in the coming season.

Should he do so, or even if he fails to dramatically surpass the previous results of his predecessor Alex Marquez, it will be very difficult for him to see a return to full factory status in the future, despite his amazing talent.

Barely old at 27, he’s a veteran in MotoGP terms nonetheless, and unfortunately in a series known for its cutthroat nature and desire to always prioritize age and potential over experience, it could very well be this Suzuki His passing also marks the beginning of the end of Alex Rins’ time as a MotoGP rider with the machinery capable of fighting for race wins.





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