MotoGP teams are using the five-week long summer break to configure their line-ups for the coming seasons. Lucio Cecchinello’s LCR Team Honda hit the headlines this Tuesday after announcing the signing of Alex Rins for the next two years, until the end of 2024.
The Catalan pilot has thus secured a place on the 2023 World Championship grid after his team Suzuki, announced its retirement from MotoGP earlier this year. MotoGP seats have become harder to come by following the Japanese team’s withdrawal, and with no other manufacturer in sight to replace them.
The 26-year-old Catalan pilot now faces a new professional adventure after six seasons in MotoGP defending Suzuki’s blue colours. In 2023, he will be going from an official structure to a satellite one and changing the Hamamatsu machine for the indomitable Honda where he will be replacing compatriot Álex Márquez, who, knowing of his dismissal, will make his move to Gresini Racing.
Álex Rins would have signed his agreement with the Monaco-based team a couple of weeks ago. The LCR Honda is a squad although it is directly linked to the giant with the golden wing. Meanwhile, fans are still waiting for the official Honda structure to announce the signing of his Suzuki teammate Joan Mir, to join Marc Márquez next year.
Following several crashes and a fair deal of bad luck, the pilot from Barcelona is currently nine in the Drivers’ standings with 75 points, two less than Mir. The latter had to miss the German GP & Dutch GP, after being crashed onto by Takaaki Nakagami in Catalonia, breaking his arm as a result.
Super happy to be joining the @lcr_team ! Changing team and bike is always a challenge but I'll give my 100% to put into practice everything that I’ve learnt during these years in @motogp 💪#42ins https://t.co/ZVmJuqxmnz
— Alex Rins (@Rins42) July 19, 2022
The challenge ahead of him is not to be taken lightly. Let down by an indomitable and inefficient RC213V, Honda is going through one of the most delicate moments of its MotoGP career.
Orphaned by the convalescence of their star pilot Marc Márquez, on indefinite leave after his fourth humerus surgery, they are in desperate need to turn things around. In the first eleven rounds of the year, they have only managed one podium in the opening round in Qatar at the hands of Pol Espargaró.
The team has placed its trust in Álex Rins’ experience to help them out of their complex situation and they probably will do so in Mir if he finally signs for the Honda factory structure. The structure’s evolution strategy, however, will be determined by Marquez’ guidelines, whose opinion is key in these matters.
Álex Rins and LCR: Delighted with their agreement
Moments after the news became official, Alex Rins expressed his satisfaction on Twitter, speaking of the challenge of riding the Japanese beast. Along the same lines, Lucio Cecchinello said he was very happy with the deal via a brief statement on Facebook:
“I am delighted to announce that Álex Rins will be the LCR Honda rider in 2023. Rins is an experienced driver, a fast driver and a podium finisher”.
“The wealth of experience, coupled with Rins’ ability to give the precise suggestions to his technicians, as I’ve heard, will surely help us to improve our bike package (…)” the Italian manager concluded.
The question still remains about who will be Álex Rins’ teammate, but all rumours point to the departure of Japanese pilot Takaaki Nakagami from the team. This was a deciding season for his career but his poor results have let him down. This, together with the good performance of his compatriot Ai Ogura, one point away from leading the Moto2 title fight, distances him from a prominent role in the team in favour of the latter.
Images of Alex Rins: LCR Team Honda.