Unlike many Suzuki MotoGP staff, Rins and Mir will almost certainly have top MotoGP jobs for next year, but at Le Mans they were still dazed and confused by recent events.
Rins took Suzuki’s bombshell the worst, because he’s been with the factory since he graduated to MotoGP in 2017. No wonder he cried when team management told him the news during the Jerez tests.
“It was a very bad feeling, direct to my body, after I had given everything to develop the bike over these years,” said the former Moto2 and Moto3 race winner who’s won three MotoGP races with Suzuki, in 2019 and 2020.
It was the young Spaniard’s misfortune to join Suzuki at the start of its worst year with the GSX-RR. Engineers wanted to improve corner-exit traction for 2017, so they increased crankshaft mass, but they went slightly too far and the bike became difficult to turn.
“When Suzuki told me they were stopping I was destroyed” Alex Rins
When you’ve got a heavy crankshaft spinning beneath you, at perhaps 18,000rpm, the crank will do everything it can to prevent you from shifting it from its current axis to flick the motorcycle into corners.
“That year we ate a lot of, let’s say, shit, because the 2017 engine was so bad,” Rins added. “It was difficult to turn the bike and difficult just to finish races. I gave a lot of information to Suzuki and since then we’ve done some really good races, so for sure when they told me they were stopping I was destroyed, sincerely.”
His Le Mans get-off was indeed spectacular and scared Miller, who saw Rins riding through the gravel at speed, wondering if his bike and Rins’ would collide at Turn Four.
“I didn’t know what was happening, I was scared, I shit my pants,” said Miller later. “Massive thanks to Alex for sacrificing to keep everyone else safe.”