Alex Rins became a MotoGP race winner at the Circuit of the Americas after a tense battle with Valentino Rossi for the victory.
The duo inherited the fight for victory after runaway leader Marc Marquez crashed out the race at turn 12. Rins remained glued to the back wheel of the Yamaha rider and made his move with four laps remaining. Despite the constant threat of a possible fightback from the nine-time champion, Rins kept his cool to win his first-ever MotoGP race.
Rins becomes the only rider to have won at the Texan circuit in Moto3, Moto2 and MotoGP, and the result also secures the Suzuki team’s first victory since Maverick Viñales at the 2016 British Grand Prix.
Speaking about his maiden victory, Rins said:
“It’s incredible! I’m very happy to win the race here! In warm-up this morning we tried a different set-up and it didn’t work in the way we expected, so we reverted to the usual settings for the race and we won, it’s super! I’m lost for words! I managed the pressure well, even though I suffered a bit in the last laps.
“When I crossed the line all the feelings hit me at once. I just want to say a big thank you to all my team, everyone in Japan, and all the people around me!”
The race win for Rins moves him right into contention in the title fight. The Spaniard is now third overall and is only five points behind championship leader, Andrea Dovizioso.
Team manager, Davide Brivio added:
“Today we are so happy – so pleased for the factory back in Japan and for all the team staff, because everybody has worked so hard. It’s wonderful for Alex, this is further proof of the way he’s matured and improved. When he began with us he suffered a lot with injuries, and since then he has worked so hard and this achievement is something he really deserves. Now I can say that our target this season was victory, and we’ve done it at the third race.
“Thanks to all the Suzuki staff and Alex. Joan had amazing pace today but unfortunately he jump-started and the penalty cost him a lot, we already talked a lot about this; but finally he has made another important step this weekend. I’m happy about his improvements.”
Round four of the 2019 MotoGP Championship takes place at Jerez on 3-5 May 2019.