Rins To Suzuki Ecstar in 2017
The revamping of Team Suzuki Ecstar’s MotoGP effort for 2017 is complete with the signing of Moto3 and Moto2 star Alex Rins. Rins, who has 12 Grand Prix wins in his career (eight in Moto3; four in Moto2), leads the 2016 Moto2 Championship standings.
Although never a champion, Rins has finished runner-up in the Moto3 (2013) and Moto2 (2015) championship series and is a rising star in the sport at age 20. Rins joins Andrea Iannone at Suzuki Ecstar in 2017, as Iannone leaves the Ducati MotoGP team.
Iannone replaces Maverick Viñales, who is replacing reigning MotoGP World Champion Jorge Lorenzo at Movistar Yamaha Factory Racing in 2017. Although current Suzuki Ecstar rider Aleix Espargaró helped develop the Suzuki GSX-RR MotoGP bike, and clearly wanted to continue to ride for the team, his contract was not renewed, with Rins taking Espargaró’s spot.
Espargaró currently sits in seventh place in the MotoGP standing with 49 points, 76 points behind leader Marc Márquez (Repsol Honda) and 23 points behind teammate Viñales. 26-year-old Espargaró has two fifth-place MotoGP finishes in 2016, with Viñales having made the podium. In 2015, Espargaró scored one pole position, but finished the season outside of the top 10.
“Alex Rins is a young rider who has already proven to have much talent,” said Suzuki Ecstar Team Manager Davide Brivio, “always fighting within the top positions of the World Championship since his debut in every class, making him the type of rider who we want to support for the future.
“To pair Andrea Iannone, an experienced rider with such a young talent as Alex creates a perfect combination for our challenge. We believe that the combination of these two riders, together with the further development of the Suzuki GSX-RR, can help us to create a strong team to compete at the maximum level. It wasn’t an easy choice, and we feel sorry for Aleix, who we would like to thank for his hard work and the real passion he has continued to put in our project since it started. We wish him all the best for his future, but in the meantime we will support as best as we can to try to get the best possible results together until the end of this season.”