Last week Motorsport.com revealed Suzuki’s Japanese management had told its MotoGP race team at Jerez during the post-Spanish Grand Prix test that it was quitting the series at the end of the 2022 campaign.
The news – which was officially confirmed by Suzuki on Thursday ahead of this weekend’s French GP at Le Mans, as it enters discussions with series promoter Dorna Sports about its exit – came completely out of the blue for all involved in the MotoGP team.
Rins, whose MotoGP future has now been thrown into doubt, says he was in tears when he was informed of the news – with it understood the riders only knew 15 minutes before the rest of the team – and offered his sympathies to the members of the race team now out of a job.
“After the Monday test in Jerez, Livio [Suppo] other [Shinichi] Sahara-san take me and told me the news in the office,” Rins said of when he was first notified of Suzuki’s decision.
“It was super hard. I was fully crying. I gave everything for this team since 2017, trying to give a lot of info to have a competitive and winning bike.
“But you know, it’s also the team members. They did everything since 2015 when Suzuki was in MotoGP again.
“For sure it was a big shock for me, a big shock for the team.
“It’s not easy. In the end, I can find something for the next year I think.
“But for them it’s more difficult. I feel very sorry, they are like a family for me.
“Let’s try to finish the season as strong as possible.
“This weekend will be the last for me with the Suzuki at Le Mans, let’s enjoy the time with the Suzuki in this track. Next year we’ll ride with another bike.”
Alex Rins, Team Suzuki MotoGP
Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
Suzuki is in its strongest moment in MotoGP since it won the world title with Joan Mir in 2020, with Rins joint leading the championship ahead of the Jerez weekend having scored two podiums and a stunning fourth from the back of the grid in Portugal.
Despite the odd timing of Suzuki’s decision – which it says has been forced by the current world economic situation and changes in the automotive industry – Rins says it has provided him “extra motivation” for the rest of the year, while noting that updates from the factory won’t stop.
“It is difficult, but it also gives us an extra boost,” Rins added.
“The first race after the Jerez test is hard, but now there are two ways: You take the down way or the up way. We take the good one.
“What they say is that the budget for this year is closed, so they will bring everything.
“They will put all the effort. And trust me, the Japanese people, the mechanics were destroyed [by the news].
“We’re waiting for a new aerodynamic package – let’s wait for this thing and let’s try to go for good results. We already have two podiums and we want to show them more.”
Rins says he was in talks with Suzuki about renewing before its decision to quit MotoGP and believes he can still find a ride in 2023, though is unsure where at present.
“The plan was to continue with Suzuki,” he said.
“We were also in negotiations with them, but this thing comes super-fast.
“If Livio or Sahara-san knew this during the first race, we would not have started talks.”