Rins ended the opening day of practice at the Qatar GP fastest of all after topping a tight FP2 with a 1m53.432s, with team-mate Joan Mir in third.
After a tough 2021 campaign blighted by a lack of development on the bike, Rins only managed one podium in a crash-strewn year while Mir couldn’t defend his title in third in the standings.
But Suzuki appeared to make huge gains over the winter with its 2022 bike, particularly with its engine – Rins topping the speed traps in both Qatar practices on Friday at 355.2km/h.
The three-time race winner says he can now “breathe” on straights, but “Suzuki needs to keep working”.
“We have extra confidence, Suzuki worked quite well,” Rins said on Friday. “But Suzuki needs to keep working. They did a good job on the engine side, but if they relax a little bit we are fucked.
“But today overall was quite good, I tried to follow someone on the straight and there was a good feeling. I was holding the slipstream, so at least we can breathe on the straight.
“Before on the straight we could not breathe, we were looking around. But let’s see in the race, I hope to improve on that side.”
Alex Rins, Team Suzuki MotoGP
Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
Mir says the speed of the new engine means Suzuki “will not have all the troubles” it did last year in terms of power, while the new GSX-RR in general is “making life a bit easier”.
“Well, I’m never completely relaxed,” Mir replied when asked by Motorsport.com if the form of the 2022 bike already has given him cause for optimism. “I think that always I ask more and I want more and this is part of my character always.
“But it’s a first step to make a great season. This gives you confidence because we clearly improved the top speed and this is something that we will not have all the troubles in this area of last year that was really difficult and probably with this we can defend on the straights.
“So, this is the first step. Then obviously we had to improve on the qualifying, that was another weak point.
“And with all the work that we did last year, all the work we did on the test and a little bit more power this makes our life a little bit more easy, let’s say we are able to make a faster lap time. Yeah, pretty happy.”