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Alex Rins started the 2019 MotoGP season with a fine fourth place in Qatar after leading on numerous occasions, while rookie Mir also fought at the front before finishing eighth in an exciting season-opener.

Pushing and shoving at the start saw Rins slot into ninth, while Mir enjoyed a good start to move into seventh, before progressing further forwards and rising as high as fourth.


Eager to lead, feeling he had the pace to win, Rins took four laps to get to the front, but found himself embroiled in a battle for the win and podium positions.

He had several goes at leading, and despite crossing the line just a tenth of a second off the podium in the end, it was hard not to be disappointed not to open the season with a spray of champagne.

However, it marked a solid and promising start to the season for the team, with Rins optimistic for the year after a strong result at a track that he deems not to be a favourite.

He said, "It was an incredible start to the season, it shows all the hard work we’ve done in the winter.

"The race pace was quite slow and I was constantly trying to get to the front to pull a gap, but I was overtaken down the straight and it was difficult. We know this isn’t our best track but I felt good and we’re all pleased with this result."

Mir commented on his debut, saying, "I’m so happy about the race. We showed good pace in FP4 and I was able to bring this speed to the race. I learned a lot from the top guys and this was one of the most important and interesting things about this race for me.

"It was a shame that my tyre went off a bit at the end so I was unable to push more, but anyway, I hope to continue this way - improving race by race, and trying to stay with the front guys."

Team manager, Davide Brivio, assessed the opening race, "It has been a great race and we were very close to the front - fighting for the win for the whole race. Alex did a great job and achieved a lot, despite the fact that our bike suffers a bit on the straight. We feel very positive because this isn’t our best track but we still had a very good result.

"Joan put together an incredible debut, we hoped he would be in with a group so he could learn, and it turned out he was in the best possible group to get important lessons. He made some great moves and fought with the fastest guys."