MotoGP

MotoGP title contender Alex Rins thinks Le Mans slump a one-off

Surprise MotoGP title contender Alex Rins believes the issues that held his Suzuki team back in last weekend’s French Grand Prix are largely specific to the Le Mans track.

A 10th-place finish mirrored Rins’ French GP from the previous year, but also snapped an 11-race streak of top-six finishes.

That meant the Austin winner fell from second to third in the championship, now 20 points behind leader Marc Marquez.

Rins had been hampered by qualifying 19th due to a “very bad strategy” in Q1 in mixed weather conditions, but admitted he had expected stronger pace in the dry race.

He explained that he was struggling to make the most of the GSX-RR bike’s traditional corner-speed advantage.

“I started the race very focused, with a lot of hope, but the problem was more or less the same as in practice,” Rins said.

“We were missing on the first part of the corner, the moment that we release brakes. In that area, if I try to do more corner speed, I was losing the front tyre. It’s strange because last year we had the same problem [at Le Mans].

“More or less the bikes are the same. For the next year for sure we need to try some changes on the bike. We need to resolve it, because last year was the same.”

Asked whether he believed this to be a Le Mans-specific issue, Rins said: “I felt [the problem] more on this track than the other tracks.

“Maybe for the low temperature, maybe for the corners [layout], I don’t know.”

Though Rins acknowledged that “we need to work”, he also insisted his loss of ground in the championship was “not a problem” because there were “a lot of races” left.

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