Alex Rins labelled his crash that led to his third successive non-points scoring outing a “disaster”, admitting he is currently “in a bad moment” as far as results are concerned.
The Suzuki racer fought back well from a lowly 15th place starting position for the French Grand Prix on the opening tour to cross the line sixth, the three-time premier class winner making further progress during the early rain-affected laps to sit third as he exited the pits having switched to his wet-prepared GSX-RR.
He saw his victory chances crushed though as he lost the front of his machine at Turn 4 as he exited the pits, while another crash late on having switched back to his first bike ended his race for good as he recorded his second DNF in the past three contests, the other being a non-score due to an early get-off in the Spanish GP at Jerez.
Having gone down while battling eventual Portuguese GP winner and current championship leader Fabio Quartararo for the lead at the Algarve International Circuit, Rins has now fallen to 12th in the riders standings 57 points down on the Frenchman, albeit with 14 races still to recover.
Rins revealed a small dab of front brake to get his Suzuki to turn in to Turn 4 more efficiently as he left pit-lane was to blame for his first crash, while he would fall victim to crash hot-spot Turn 3 late on, the Spaniard accepting his third straight non-score from a front-running position is a “disaster.”
“For sure I did the impossible and crossed the line at the end of the first lap in fifth or sixth position, it was amazing,” explained Rins.
“Then it started to rain a little bit and I started to push more and was able to catch the leading group, I passed Maverick (Vinales) and was third coming into the pits and then exiting Turn 4 normally you don’t use the front brake when exiting the pits and today I braked a little bit to make it a little easier to turn the bike and I lost the front.
“It was a disaster at that point but I picked up the bike and went back to the pits to change bikes, but the other still had the dry set-up but I stayed out for 1-2 laps to warm the tyres and everything and I was feeling it react.
“I had Fabio (Quartararo) in front and (Takaaki) Nakagami behind and we were all doing the same lap times, but then I lost the front at the third corner and that was it.
“We are in a bad moment talking about results, but I felt so strong on the bike here at Le Mans and in the past we’ve struggled a lot.
“We were quite good in the dry conditions so I’ll reset and keep working to improve for next time, but I’m feeling optimistic for Mugello even though we might start with a disadvantage compared to the Ducati’s and Honda’s.”
Mir’s tricky title defence continues
Reigning world champion team-mate Joan Mir compounded a tough French outing for Suzuki as he crashed out terminally just moments prior to his team-mate while trying to circulate back to the pits to change bikes in the treacherous conditions.
A frustrated Mir says he was “not even trying to overtake anybody” as he looked to simply survive to swap to his wet-weather prepared GSX-RR, ruing a “good opportunity” to capture a rostrum result.
“It’s a shame because I was in a really difficult situation to control being on the slicks with a lot of water on track, and I was not trying to overtake anybody,” said Mir.
“A lot of riders were trying to make profit from the situation and I just wanted to get to the pits and change tyres so I could then push because I normally have a lot of pace with the wet.
“I didn’t expect the crash and then I couldn’t get to the pits so I’m very disappointed, but these are mistakes you can make sometimes and it’s important to learn from them.
“The championship is not over but it’s frustrating because we lost a really good opportunity to be on the podium.
“We just need to go to Mugello and give it our all, I’m generally happy with the weekend I crashed during FP2 which cost me the chance to get to Q2 so for sure we need to improve there but my pace in the wet and dry was good, I think I made a step this weekend which is positive.”