WORDS BY ADAM PROUD | IMAGES BY SUZUKI
Past mistakes may be coming back to haunt Alex Rins, and at one of the most crucial points in his career where his place on the grid is at huge risk.
Already cast into the shadows in 2020 when team-mate Joan Mir won the championship, Rins again finds himself teetering at the edge of letting his own title hopes slip after crashing out at Le Mans whilst at the front of the pack.
We’ve seen it all before. Consistency is the one thing which the Spaniard just can’t seem to grab with both hands and hold on to throughout the year. 2021 was a write off with five DNFs, adding to that a DNS in Barcelona after a clumsy cycling accident ruled him out of the weekend.
Looking at 2020 it’s easy to think third was the best Rins could have achieved in the championship. But with teammate Mir at the top, that adds salt to the wounds of a rider who was meant to be Suzuki’s top dog at the time.
The 26-year-old finds himself back in the hot seat to lead the way with the Japanese marque after a relatively strong start, yet a crash in last weekend’s grand prix must already be put behind him now to keep that momentum.
But right now, Rins can’t focus on being number one at Suzuki because once this year ends, they’re gone. He must keep getting results just to keep a seat on the grid.
Last year, Rins fell off a cliff pretty quickly and never managed to climb back up. A crash in the third round at Portugal while fighting for the win led to a spell of seven consecutive races without a top 10 finish.
2022 was meant to be the year he bounced back and with Mir currently struggling to get a result, and sitting ninth in the championship while Rins sits fourth, all the ingredients are ready for a good campaign.
But while he looks for a seat elsewhere on the grid, it’s hard to say teams won’t be reluctant to offer a contract just yet until more races have passed. Another fall in at least the next three rounds would be unacceptable given how last year turned out.
Rins is capable of getting strong results, yet teams will be looking for more than just an occasional podium or top five finish. Right now, the Spaniard needs to prove he’s got the ability to do that on a weekly basis.
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