Alex Rins says that Alcaniz Grand Prix winner Franco Morbidelli “made the difference” in comparison to his own Motorland Aragon victory just seven days prior.
The Suzuki racer utilised the same soft-soft tyre strategy that netted him success in the Aragon GP to try and capture both wins at the Spanish venue, though an inspired ride from Morbidelli denied him the feat.
The Petronas SRT man could only manage sixth in the Aragon GP behind fellow Yamaha racer Maverick Vinales-who managed fourth-taking the chequered flag 4.7 seconds down on Rins.
The three-time MotoGP winner says that Morbidelli’s dramatic improvement in form witnessed in the Alcaniz GP-illustrated by a race time 14 seconds faster than his Aragon GP run and seven seconds quicker than Rins’ race winning time-was the key differentiator in Rins finding himself unable to repeat victory at Aragon, forcing him to settle for second 2.2 seconds behind the Italian.
“The difference (compared to Aragon GP winning performance) was that Franco (Morbidelli) did a really good job, he was so fast and he gave me no opportunity to show him my bike,” explained Rins.
“In the middle of the race I started to struggle with my soft front tyre, but I think it was the optimal choice for me as I tried the medium in FP4 and I was struggling a little bit.
“I was waiting for Franco’s tyres to drop, but he was so consistent and I couldn’t get close enough to overtake so I decided to focus on Joan instead.”
Rins insisted he was “happy” with second after narrowing team-mate Joan Mir’s championship advantage from 36 points to 32, though conceded it would still be tough to challenge the ’17 Moto3 world champion for the title over the final three contests due to him being “very consistent this year”.
“Overall though I’m happy, 45 points in these two weeks and now just 32 behind Joan (Mir), but he’s very consistent this year so it’ll be difficult to take the championship, but if we can’t take it we will continue to take the top positions,” added Rins.
“I wasn’t particularly thinking about the championship, I could see the gap back to Joan staying around 2.7 seconds so I thought ‘keep your tyres Alex’, because if I continued to push I would have destroyed my tyre and Joan would catch me.”
While catching in-from Mir may look tricky with only a few events to go, Rins’ chances of making it a Suzuki 1-2 in the riders championship look infinitely better when the form of the four riders ahead are taken into account.
Andrea Dovizioso has failed to finish on the rostrum since his Austrian GP victory in August, while Fabio Quartararo and Maverick Vinales have failed to reach the box since the Catalan and Emilia Romagna encounters respectively.
Morbidelli’s Alcaniz win was his first podium finish since his debut premier class success in the San Marino GP, his third of the campaign.
Rins meanwhile is enjoying a purple patch of results having racked up three rostrums in the past four races-with a crash in the French GP while running second in the closing stages denying him four from four-meaning his 18 point gap to second-placed Quartararo could be swallowed up very rapidly should he maintain current form.