In a welcome diversion from the ongoing onslaught of COVID-19-related news, the Suzuki Ecstar team have announced that they have signed Alex Rins for a further two seasons, meaning that the Spaniard will be riding for the team in the 2021 and 2022 MotoGP seasons, such as they may be.
The only thing about the news is perhaps the timing, in the middle of the COVID-19 lockdown. It has been clear for a while that both Rins and Suzuki were treating each other as their first priority in contract negotiations. Suzuki has made no secret of wanting to hang on to both of its current riders, and with Rins having won the races at Austin and Silverstone last year, Suzuki's first victories since Maverick Viñales' win at Silverstone in 2016.
The next target for Suzuki will be to try to extend with Joan Mir. Mir had an impressive season as a rookie, and has sparked some interest from other factories, but the best option for the Spaniard is likely to stay put.
Rins' signing brings the total rider signings for 2021 to five. Below are the riders with contracts so far:
|Monster Energy Yamaha|
|Maverick Viñales||Yamaha M1||2022|
|Fabio Quartararo||Yamaha M1||2022|
|Marc Márquez||Honda RC213V||2024|
|Alex Rins||Suzuki GSX-RR||2022|
The Suzuki press release appears below:
SUZUKI AND ALEX RINS EXTEND THEIR PARTNERSHIP FOR 2021 AND 2022
Team Suzuki Press Office – Sunday, April 19.
Alex Rins will remain an official MotoGP rider for Team Suzuki MotoGP for the 2021 and 2022 seasons. The renewal of the contract between Suzuki Racing Company, a branch of Suzuki Motor Corporation, and the 24-year-old Spaniard arrives during a very peculiar moment in history, as the 2020 World Championship has been unable to start due to the exceptional situation of the Covid-19 crisis. But this contract renewal confirms that Suzuki, the Team, and the Rider are all thinking about the future and focused on achieving even better results.
Alex Rins joined Team Suzuki Ecstar in 2017, making his debut in the MotoGP class. His first year was marked by a severe injury at the beginning of the season, but Rins recovered strongly and didn’t take long to show his true potential with consistent races in the second half of the year. Alex built on his experience and continued his growth throughout 2018, this saw him take his first MotoGP podium in Argentina, with third place.
The 2019 season rightfully placed him among the top Championship contenders, with consistent race results in the Top 5 and two outstanding victories: at the Texas GP and in Silverstone.
The 2020 pre-season tests showed great potential and a good level of feeling between Rins and the upgraded Suzuki GSX-RR, but the results are still to come due to the stand-by situation that is affecting the 2020 MotoGP World Championship.
Shinichi Sahara – Project Leader:
“This renewal of two more years with Alex Rins makes me and Suzuki very proud because it represents a building block in our project to grow young riders and progress alongside them. With this extension, we have stayed with a young, talented, determined and fast rider like Alex for a total of 6 years, and this is exactly what we aimed for when we signed him the first time in 2017. He has grown a lot, and with him also his crew and the whole team has grown too. We’ve achieved podiums and victories, and I feel that the best is still yet to come. Unfortunately, the situation now doesn’t allow us to prove under race conditions all the progress that we’ve made or the results I believe we are capable of, but this Coronavirus situation is new for everyone and we need to adapt. For sure we are remaining upbeat, and this agreement confirms that we are always thinking of the future with optimism and positivity.”
“We are very happy to confirm Alex Rins as a Factory Rider of Team Suzuki MotoGP for two more seasons; 2021 and 2022. With this agreement we take our relationship to 6 years, and we believe that this stability will prove positive for all of us. I must say that this agreement was just awaiting a ‘stamp’ on it, because both Suzuki and Alex had the will to continue together and a basic agreement for the continuation was already achieved months ago. So now that everything is done we can finally proudly announce it. As a team our aim is to keep the whole working group together and become even stronger, we had a fantastic end of the season last year and this is the starting point we want to rely on when we will be able to start racing again.”
“My wish was to continue with Suzuki and finally this is what I did. I believe that the project has the potential to be a winning one, I have the desire to win, and so we match perfectly. It’s the perfect place for me, and we are working hard all together to get big results. I have always believed in the team and for this reason it was easy to get to the basic agreement very early on. Then we took some time to finalise the details and follow all the internal processes.
Now we have to understand what’s going to happen with the 2020 season, we are ready to compete at the maximum level, as we already showed in the pre-season tests. In this very moment the whole world is facing an unexpected situation that affects pretty much all countries and we need to be patient and see how it evolves. We will make ourselves ready for when we will be called to start racing, whenever this will happen. Dorna is doing all they can to allow us to compete, but they are of course taking into account what matters most; the safety and health of people. We can only stay ready and wait to be told when we can start, and in the meantime focus on training.”
To watch the livestream on Instagram: @SUZUKIMOTOGP: CLICK HERE
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