Rins, who has posted 11 consecutive top-six finishes in MotoGP and claimed his maiden win earlier this year in Austin, sits second in the current riders’ standings, just one point behind rider Marquez.

Reigning champion Marquez has repeatedly spotlighted Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso as the biggest threat to his title defence, but acknowledges Rins and Suzuki can also be a factor.

“I already say in Malaysia [pre-season] test that Alex will be there, because he finish in a good way the [2018] season, he start in a good way this season, he was riding in a very good way in the pre-season.

“His strongest point is that he don’t have pressure at the moment. For sure it will arrive.

“It’s true. At the moment if he finishes second, he’s very happy; he finishes first, [it] is amazing; he finishes third, also he’s happy.

“Now is another opponent for the championship, he’s ready to fight for the championship and the bike too, this is important also and it’s important for the championship to have more manufacturers fighting for the title.”

While he has been in a rich run of form, qualifying remains a weakness for Rins, who is yet to line up higher than seventh on the grid in the first four races of 2019.

“Yes, still we need to work more hard on qualifying,” he acknowledged after charging from ninth to second in the Jerez race.

“I would like to start always better but it’s hard, this is MotoGP, trying to do a very fast lap, it’s hard, but anyway I will try to improve, I will try to keep the same line.

“Sincerely I don’t know [what the cause is]. As I said before, we need to improve on the braking area – maybe on qualifying, if we improve this thing, maybe comes easier.

“But the problem exactly I don’t know. I try, I try to put the bike on the limit, but sincerely I don’t know where is the problem.”

However, Rins didn’t do any qualifying-specific work in the post-Spanish GP test day at Jerez, instead exploring solutions to make his pace even more consistent.

“I don’t put any soft tyre, we just keep focused on the rhythm, we try different swingarm, a lot of things on the electronic area,” Rins said.

“I’m quite happy, because sincerely lap by lap I did very constant [pace], was easy.”

Additional reporting by Oriol Puigdemont

Alex Rins, Team Suzuki MotoGP

Alex Rins, Team Suzuki MotoGP

Photo by: Gold and Goose / LAT Images