Using excellent race craft, Rins planned a victory charge for the last few laps, before executing a great pass on Rossi to lead. Alex remained calm under pressure from the 9-time champion to earn his first ever MotoGP win.
Joan Mir, meanwhile, was feeling ready for the race after a positive morning warm-up session, but the rookie unfortunately jumped the start and was forced to complete a ride-through penalty whilst running in 13th place. Joan used the remainder of the race to learn and become further acquainted with his GSX-RR, finishing the GP in 17th place.
Today's victory marks Team SUZUKI ECSTAR's first win since Silverstone 2016, and Alex Rins' first win since Le Mans 2016, as well as being his debut MotoGP top step.
Ken Kawauchi - Technical Manager
"It was a great race. Our bike and Alex have both grown a lot in recent months, and we were finally able to show the results of these improvements. Joan made a small mistake today but he paid a big price. We're looking forward to the next races with him because he's learning fast. I want to thank Alex, the whole team, and everyone who is involved with this project on site and in Japan - today is a very happy day for Suzuki."
Davide Brivio - Team Manager
"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 heâ€™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."
"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!"
"I'm quite disappointed about the jump start, the footage shows that I moved a fraction before the lights, but I didn't gain anything from it. Nevertheless the penalty is a ride-through. Without this I could have had a strong result so it's a real shame, but anyway, I'm happy with my pace and my feeling with the bike - both were good this weekend. I want to congratulate Alex because he did an amazing job! All the team will continue working to be even more competitive."
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