Subscriber Interview: Alex Rins On Why He Races, What He Learned In 2017, And Being Compared To A Giraffe

The life of a motorcycle racer is not always a glamorous one. On Saturday, Suzuki ECSTAR rider Alex Rins got up at 3:15am, drove the two-and-a-half hours from his home to Barcelona airport to catch a 7am flight, then slept for a couple of hours on the plane to Amsterdam. From there, he was driven to Utrecht, to make an appearance at the Motorbeurs Utrecht, the traditional opening of the motorcycle season in The Netherlands.

In Utrecht, Rins was interviewed on the Suzuki stand, signed autographs, and posed for photos with fans. After a quick lunch, he did the fan meet-and-greet experience again, before heading back to Schiphol airport and a 5pm flight back to Barcelona, to arrive back home an hour or so before midnight. In Utrecht, in between meeting the fans and appearing on the Suzuki stand, he found time for a couple of interviews.

Though he does not relish days like this, he remained cheerful throughout, meeting the day's events with a quiet and relaxed calm, and without complaint. "It's work," he shrugged when asked about such a long day, a day on which he could have been training to prepare for the upcoming season. There was never a hint of irritation or frustration, he smiled, waved, and greeted fans and familiar faces with a friendly and professional demeanor.

A winning record

It is perhaps that calmness that explains his success in motorcycle racing. An open and positive approach, coupled with a keen intelligence, are the hallmark of all great racers. Rins has yet to win a Grand Prix championship – he was runner up in Moto3 in 2013, and in Moto2 in 2016 – but he has achieved that other mark of being exceptional: podiums and victories in (almost) every year he has been in Grand Prix.

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Marc Marquez Signs On For Two More Years With Repsol Honda

Marc Marquez has become the third rider to sign a new contract for the coming season. Today, HRC announced that the reigning world champion will be staying with the Repsol Honda team for two more years, for the 2019 and 2020 seasons.

The news doses not come as a surprise, despite recent comments by Marquez that he was open to listening to offers from other factories. Marquez is very happy with Honda, and at this point in his career, his main ambition is to keep winning races and championships. He has proven that he is capable of doing that with Honda.

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2018 Philip Island World Superbike Race Two Results: Zero Tyre Strategy Required

The tyre problems of Saturday brought in a mandatory flag-to-flag race, with riders having to change tyres in the middle of the twenty-two lap race, on lap ten, eleven or twelve. The reverse grid is still being used, for some inexplicable reason as it had no effect last year, putting the fourth-placed rider from race one into pole position. 

Race Two didn't introduce any changes to the rev limits, the limits aren't introduced until three weekends have taken place, so everyone is still on 3.3% above the rev limit of the road bike. Georgia Flood, the anthem singer, served as a windsock as she sang, showing the wind was still coursing along the start/finish straight as a headwind, increasing the advantage of a slipstream. 

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2018 Philip Island World Supersport Race Results: Flag-to-Flag, Red Lap, Sprint Race, Oh my.

The first World Supersport race of the year opens with some controversy before the race even starts, with four riders getting penalised three places for unsafe riding. During qualifying, Federico Caricasulo, Sandro Cortese, Raffaele De Rosa and Jules Cluzel were all deemed to have ridden unsafely in qualifying, slowing down at inopportune times to deal with rivals trying for a tow. 

To make matters worse, with tyre problems causing issues, the race has been shortened to just sixteen laps with a mandatory pitstop on lap seven, eight or nine for a new tyre. Without a second bike, this will require every one of the twenty-two riders to get their rear wheel removed and replaced.

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2018 Philip Island World Superbike Race One Results: A Different Pace Of Race

The opening race of 2018 would be the proof of the new rules. Would anyone be able to break the Ducati and Kawasaki dominance at a windy seaside?

Tom Sykes led Marco Melandri into the first turn with Jonathan Rea charging round the outside to challenge Melandri out of the corner and take the inside line to take second place and slot in behind his Kawasaki teammate. Eugene Laverty and Xavi Fores were joined by a charging Chaz Davies to round to the top six, albeit almost a second off the front three.

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2018 Philip Island World Supersport Superpole Results: Exciting Opening Session

World Supersport Superpole one was contested by twelve riders, with Stefan Hill sitting the session out after being declared unfit. 

Heading into the mid-session tea break, Ayrton Badovini and Loris Cresson held off Mike Di Meglio for the qualifying places but after the tyre change, Niki Tuuli pushed his way to third place with Thomas Gradinger taking it off him a minute later. 

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