Rins didn’t even manage a point after falling at a wet Le Mans but has finished 1st-2nd-2nd in the races since, sweeping to joint second in the world championship with Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha).
Both are a distant 37-points behind Mir, who took his first MotoGP victory by 0.651s over his team-mate at Valencia on Sunday. But Rins made clear he’s far from giving up, with only two rounds and 50-points still available.
“There are 37 points to Joan. I think, sincerely speaking, everything is possible. Let’s try to fight. I will give my maximum to try to recover points to Joan” said Rins, who dislocated his shoulder at round one and was only 16th in the world championship after round two.
“Joan is showing a very good potential and he’s putting the bike on the limit and is very constant. For this reason, he is 37 points in front. So let’s try. I think nothing is impossible.”
Although Rins and Quartararo are tied on points, Rins is currently in much better form than the Frenchman. As such, Rins could well be the main obstacle stopping Mir from celebrating a MotoGP title victory this weekend.
But the size of Mir’s advantage means it’s not only in Rins’ hands. All Mir needs is a top three finish and he’ll be champion with one round remaining, even if Rins wins.
Rins held the lead until being overtaken by Mir with 10 laps to go in Sunday’s race, a small gearshift error handing his younger team-mate the chance he needed.
“I was riding quite comfortably in the race. When I was leading, I was trying to save as much as possible the rear tyre to arrive in the last laps with a good performance,” Rins said.
“I did a small mistake in Corner 11 with the gearbox, and this cost me the lead. I tried to keep the distance with Joan and when I saw that lap-by-lap he was gaining an advantage, I was saying, ‘Alex, don’t lose your faith because Pol is catching really fast’ and I was able to hold this advantage.”
KTM’s Espargaro was half-a-second from Rins at the finish.