Suzuki Ecstar Team’s Alex Rins officially confirmed himself as the comeback king in Mugello by racing through from 13th on the grid to fight tooth and nail for the race win. That performance made it an eye-watering 48 places that the 23-year-old has made up on race day so far this season.

He may have just missed out on the podium, despite a final corner lunge under Andrea Dovizioso (Mission Winnow Ducati), but fourth far exceeded the expectation of both Rins and Team Manager Davide Brivio, with the Italian admitting the factory outfit “felt trepidation” ahead of the Italian Grand Prix.

But following their success in Mugello, Rins now feels confident of challenging at the front once more this weekend at the similar Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, despite it being a track he’s never tasted Grand Prix success at.

The GSX-RR proved to be competitive at the super-fast Mugello and with Catalunya offering more fast, flowing corners, something the Suzuki is known to like, they look like strong contenders for Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya success.

“I’m very curious to go to Montmelo because in some ways the circuit is kind of similar to Mugello,” said the Americas GP winner. “It has parts which could suit our GSX-RR, so I’m arriving here with confidence. In Italy we proved that we can be effective in preparing a good setup for that kind of layout, so I think we are heading for a positive race.

Rins has finished outside of the top five just once in the last ten Grands Prix, clear evidence of the progression he is making: “Things are going well at the moment, our progression and results are good, and we have clear ideas where we have to improve. I’m happy and excited to come to my home race.”

Remember Rins sits third in the MotoGP™ World Championship, 27 points adrift of leader Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team), all despite not yet qualifying on the front two rows of the grid this season. So, with a strong Saturday to match the imperious Sunday form he’s shown, Rins could well go on to enjoy hometown glory for the first time in his career.