Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - How I ride: Álex Rins

MotoMatters.com is delighted to feature the work of iconic MotoGP writer Mat Oxley. Oxley is a former racer, TT winner and highly respected author of biographies of world champions Mick Doohan and Valentino Rossi, and currently writes for Motor Sport Magazine, where he is MotoGP correspondent. We are featuring sections from Oxley's blogs, which are posted in full on the Motor Sport Magazine website.


How I ride: Álex Rins

Three days before he rode to his first MotoGP victory at COTA we sat down with Álex Rins to find out how he extracts the maximum from Suzuki’s GSX-RR

Would you say you are a very smooth rider?

Yes.

Does this come from you working out that this is now the best way to ride a MotoGP bike or does it come naturally?

I think it comes naturally – I don’t work in a special way to be smooth on the bike. I remember one funny story when I was riding in Moto3 in 2013 – my mechanics were watching me in qualifying and they thought I was coming back to the box, but on that lap I got pole position! So, yes, it comes naturally.

People used to say the same to Eddie Lawson: man, you look so slow! But in fact he was breaking lap records. In a way I suppose you’re lucky that you are in MotoGP at a time when it’s very important to be smooth, because of the tyres and the electronics.

Yes, it’s very important to be smooth now, because you need to take care of the tyres – it’s all about the tyres. If you are smooth with the throttle your rear tyre life will increase and if you ride smoothly you will increase the durability of the front tyre.

Do you work with your data guys to perfect this technique?

Yes, since I first arrived in MotoGP in 2017. With the data you can check exactly how much gas you are using at any point of the track and what lean angle you are using, so you can use this data to help you ride better.

How do you use the throttle exiting a corner?

Basically, with a MotoGP bike you can open the throttle 100 per cent exiting a corner and with all the electronics it won’t be problem. I don’t want to say that you’d never crash in this situation, but it is difficult to crash like this. However, if you go to full gas with a lot of lean angle then very quickly the tyre starts to slide and spin. And once the tyre starts to spin it’s very difficult to stop it spinning, which affects the lap time and also tyre life.

Read the rest of Mat Oxley's blog on the Motor Sport Magazine website.

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Total votes: 6
Total votes: 7

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Comments

Throwaway optimistic comment at the end of the interview, or was it? It seems like he isn't wasteful with words, effort, tire life, or even emotion.

I love watching smooth riders like Alex and Jorge. Though it's fun to watch Marc riding on the edge, it does not inform my (road) riding. And Vale, I feel like he makes a thousand tiny adjustments too subtle for me to pick up on. But watching Alex ride smooth, calm and with his head up taking in everything happening in front of him even while fighting at the front, that's a mental image I can bring with me to the street.

Jerez was an interesting case, watching him try to get past Dovi. Alex doesn't seem to do the "desperate lunge", even though he says he doesn't mind trading paint, but Dovi was forcing (or tempting) him to find a way around whereas normally he seems to watch and take opportunties as they present. Case in point, his pass on Vale towards the end of the Austin GP was sublime. I won't say nobody passes there, but it's unusual at least, and it was so clean and well set up.

Hope the rest of his season goes well, should be fun to watch!

Total votes: 15

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Thanks for your input.

Total votes: 8

I love watching Rins ride.  He keeps the bike and the line as tidy as it gets.  He seems to hang for a bit and then around half-race distance, the guy pulls a pin and goes from stalking to straight up battling, but his passes are typically very clean and well-planned out.  He seems to use the cornerspeed of the Suzuki to exploit any gap the rider in front of him presents.   

Total votes: 10

If Suzuki keep the bike updated and competitive he has a good chance of winning again. I think he's finally coming to terms with himself and the machine. You have to ride in symmetry with the bike. In other words become one with the bike.

Total votes: 0

I brake earlier, use the higher corner speed and get a faster exit.  Now for most males (apologies lady lead foots) that thought would never have occurred.  Instead it would be a bunch of swearing wondering why the idiot in front is slowing down, sit right up their clacker round the corner (swearing the whole way of course) only to see them put the hammer down and prevent you getting past on the strait; again, inducing a tad more swearing.

Not totally convinced he is going to win too many races though as it seems in this day and age of MotoGp you have to be be quite aggressive to make some passes, especially early.  There are only so many races where the clear favourite crashes out and the following bunch manage to string them selves out enough to use precision passing.  Wish him luck though as it is great to see a "different" style and Suzuki being competitive.

Total votes: 9