The last race of the season at the Valencia circuit left a bitter aftertaste on Suzuki. In the morning, Joan set the pace for me in the warm-up, and the two Spaniards in the leading group, surrounded by Ducatis, kept the pace high for a large part of the race. Then the crash of Rins and an overtaking maneuver by Miller finally ended the possibility for Joan Mir to end the season on a good note and he finished the race just off the podium. The frustration was visible in both riders, who will now face the next tests in Jerez to contain the tidal wave of Ducatis that they will have to fight against in the next season.
“I’m very disappointed, after this morning I didn’t expect that result – Joan Mir told us – I thought this would be our day, even the weekend training sessions went well, but in the end we couldn’t do anything. I had a few up front Grip problems and at the same time I didn’t have an advantage that I could use to fight the Ducatis. It’s a frustrating situation. “
What do you think was the strength of the Ducatis in this race? Do you think you could have done it without this frontal problem?
“Unfortunately, I had excellent pace in the morning I found myself in the midst of the Ducatis alone and with no way of making up ground. I started the race well and passed Bagnaia too, but then they brought me back. When I was overtaken by Miller, I noticed that the race is now over. Last year I could still see some weaknesses, now despite all the strength that forced you to deal with the worn tires faster at the end of the race and therefore to be more careful in corners, none of that happens anymore. On the contrary, it seems like they are not losing performance in the last stages of the race, but logically the opposite happens to me, I cannot understand why and it worries me. I can drive with different driving styles and be fast, but I don’t see any weak points that can be exploited, we just have to work hard in the next few tests. “
So in order to keep up with the Ducatis, did you have to push forward?
“Exactly, but The problem is, I haven’t raced a single Ducati, Ducatis have been everywhere I looked. Usually when you chase after someone you carry more, they don’t seem to have this problem. The strange thing is, if you compare the race times of this year’s race with those of the last 2020 season, in which I won, we were 20-25 seconds slower in the first race than today and in the second Morbidelli won ahead of Miller, and I always am finished 2 seconds after what I did today. Basically Ducati has gained 15 seconds compared to last year, if you analyze it they have made an incredible leap forward. “
Do you think Ducati’s advantage is due to the Suzuki having to catch up on its time on the straights?
“I don’t know if I brake better than them, but in this race I lost a lot up in the corners. The only thing I could have done in this race would have been a fall or a fourth. I risked a fall . ” several times, this is very frustrating, but I also have to say that the mood in the pits is good, the improvements from working in Suzuki are clear, I firmly believe in the project and the next tests will be fundamental, but as a driver I cannot say that I am disappointed with this result “.
If you look at this season as a whole, it must have been a shock for you as a driver as well as for the team not to have won any races. Ducati seems to have shed many of your strengths. Will we see a more competitive Suzuki next season?
“What I can say is that I probably couldn’t get 100% out of this bike, but I think I’ve done my best all season. I know there are people who say that I did not defend the title worthily, but you have to live in certain situations before you can point a finger. The frustration lies not only with me as a driver, but also with the entire Suzuki team, but I also believe that we will all come out stronger this season. You have to give 120% to win the title and that goes for me as a driver too. “
You said you hadn’t found any weak points on the Ducati in this race, did you mean the bike from a purely technical point of view or more generally?
“No, of course I talked about the Ducati package in general, we’re talking about drivers at the highest level and whom I really appreciate, that is out of the question.”
What do you think is the key area that you will be working on in the next Tests to better face the next season?
“The most important thing in the next tests will not be to be fast, but to drive as much as possible and try out different solutions. We will try to collect as much data as possible thanks to the two Suzuki testers. They too have to do several tests. Fortunately for us, in the next few tests we will have so many new things to work on beyond the technical details of the bike. This race was important, but the next tests will be even more important. Now that engine development is possible again, I think we’ll have plenty of room for improvement until next season.
Alex Rins: “Let’s think about the tests now”
A season finale to forget even for Alex Rins, who fell in the top group after a crash in the first few laps and ended a difficult year negatively.
“It’s really a shame to end the season like this,” said Alex Rins. I had good pace, I missed the line and I knew I was going to fall. but it wasn’t easy with these Ducatis. Now we must face these tests with even more determination ”.
What do you expect from the next tests?
“Personally, I would like to see even more performance compared to the Misano tests. Of course, that entails changes in all other areas, from electronics to aerodynamics.”
Falls have been a huge obstacle for you this season, is that something you will be working on this winter?
“We analyzed the data from the crash in the pits, the brake pressure was correct, but the trajectory was wrong with regard to the angle of the bike, I will certainly continue to work on that.”