Suzuki newcomer Álex Rins says finishing 2017 as MotoGP’s top rookie is his target as he prepares to make his debut in the premier class this season.
Rins, 21, has replaced Yamaha-bound Maverick Viñales at Suzuki and graduates to MotoGP following two years in Moto2, in which he claimed four wins, along with the runner-up position in the 2015 standings.
Rins will be one of four rookies on the grid this season, along with Tech 3 pair Johann Zarco and Jonas Folger, and Aprilia’s Sam Lowes, the quartet all stepping up from the intermediary category.
Rins is confident that he can finish ahead of his former Moto2 rivals across the course of the 18-race campaign.
“From what I saw in Valencia [during post-season testing], the goal will be to end the season as Rookie of the Year – and beat the riders I was racing against in Moto2,” he explained to Movistar+.
“That’s the goal I’m giving myself at the moment. Maybe when I’ve done more laps and I’m more settled in, it will change – top 15, top 10…I have no idea.”
Rins is also aware of the comparisons with compatriot Viñales and is optimistic that he can follow in the footsteps of the Yamaha rider.
“Obviously it’s going to be a lot of pressure, because I’m replacing Maverick at Suzuki,” he commented.
“And I have always been racing him and battling with him in the smaller categories.
“And in Moto2, he left Pons Racing and I joined them, so there’s always been a bit of comparison.
“But hopefully that will continue in MotoGP due to me having had two incredible seasons. I’ll try to equal what he did – or even beat it.”
Rins will partner former Ducati rider Andrea Iannone at Suzuki this season.