Usually among the more technically conservative of the MotoGP manufacturers, Rins was surprised to find out that – less than two months after Ducati publicly debuted its ‘dragon’ fins – Suzuki had its own rear aero ready for Motegi this weekend.
But the Spaniard’s enthusiasm was tempered by the news that test rider Takuya Tsuda, replacing Joan Mir, would try the new parts first.
“I’m quite impressed because especially Suzuki don’t normally make this kind of thing so fast,” Rins said.
“It was very funny because yesterday [Thursday] I knew about it at the end of the day, but they wanted Tsuda to try it first. So I went running to the Japanese guys and said ‘hey guys, come on, give it to me please!’
“They still didn’t want to. So I said, ‘OK, let’s make a deal, if I’m competitive in the first minutes, let me try it first!’
“They said ‘OK, OK’. It was quite funny!”
Rins delivered his part of the bargain by leading the timesheets after the opening lap and duly took to the track with the ‘rabbit ears’, returning to the top with a new soft rear tyre.
“I felt more stability on the rear, on braking,” Rins said of the aero. “It looks like, comparing the first to the second run, I was able to brake a little bit harder into the corner. At least less shaking.”
With wet weather expected on Friday, Rins is unsure if enough data was gathered to get the green light to race with the development, but: “If the info the engineers have and everything [looks] good, we will use [them in the race].”
Suzuki joins Ducati and Aprilia in publicly debuting aerodynamic devices for the rear of the bike, although the Aprilia design is more of a traditional winglet and has not yet been raced by the factory riders.
Despite his early speed, Rins slipped to 13th on the timesheets – meaning a potential entry in Qualifying 1 – after losing flying laps to the late yellow flags
“Very, very disappointed. Because we were quite strong during all the free practice,” Rins said. “And in the end when I put the last soft tire, the 2-3 laps I did were with yellow flags! So I couldn’ t improve.
“Now let’s try to have a good one [wet] set-up for qualifying because the weather says tomorrow will be heavy rain. So, let’s try to find a good compromise with the bike and qualify well for the race.”
Tsuda was 25th on last during his first MotoGP appearance since 2017.
This weekend’s event is Suzuki’s final home round before leaving MotoGP at the end of the season.