Officially Confirmed: Alex Rins Signs Two-Year Deal With LCR Honda

Alex Rins is to race for the LCR Honda team for the next two years. The official announcement only came today, but that Rins would end up at LCR was a foregone conclusion since the MotoGP race at Assen, where the Spaniard had admitted as much. "We are almost done and everybody can imagine where I will go next year with the exit of Alex Marquez going to Gresini," Rins had told us on the Sunday night of the Assen race.

Rins had the choice of two options: a seat with Gresini Ducati or with LCR Honda. But at Gresini, he had only been offered a Ducati Desmosedici GP22, whereas HRC had promised Rins a 2023-spec Honda RC213V at LCR. That had made the difference. "In the end I was managing the Ducati option - the Gresini option - or the LCR option," Rins told us. "We were talking with Ducati and they did not give me an official bike. I was fighting for an official bike and Honda was able to give me that possibility."

Those statements were made three weeks ago, so why has the announcement taken so long? Firstly, as the contract is directly with HRC, it had to be signed off by Honda, and go through the Japanese factory's bureaucracy. Secondly, with a five-week break between Assen and Silverstone, LCR and HRC were able to choose what they saw as the best time in terms of PR and media exposure. Contracts are rarely announced immediately after signing, but rather used as part of a PR campaign.

With Alex Rins, HRC gain a proven race winner, while Rins is guaranteed a factory-spec bike, and a two-year contract, giving him time to adapt to the Honda RC213V without the pressure of riding for a contract from the very first race. Just how well Rins will adapt to the RC213V remains to be seen: his style is fast and sweeping, rather than physically aggressive, the opposite of what the bike appears to demand.

The signing of Alex Rins brings the total of officially confirmed signings to 11, or half the 22-rider grid for 2023. Fabio Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli will continue to form the Monster Energy Yamaha team, while the Aprilia Racing team also remains unchanged, with Maverick Viñales alongside Aleix Espargaro. Jack Miller joins Brad Binder in the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team, while Marc Marquez has two more years left on his contract with Repsol Honda, and Pecco Bagnaia has signed on for two more seasons with the Ducati Factory team. Alex Marquez and Fabio Di Giannantonio will form the Gresini Ducati squad for 2023, and Alex Rins is now ensconced on the LCR Honda bike.

The press release from LCR Honda appears below:


ALEX RINS, LCR HONDA CASTROL TEAM AND HRC SIGN NEW CONTRACT
19 July 2022

The LCR Honda CASTROL Team are pleased to announce the signing of Álex Rins on a two-year contract with Honda Racing Corporation.

The 26-year-old from Barcelona has established himself as a consistent front-runner in all Grand Prix classes and finished 3rd overall in the 2020 MotoGP World Championship. Making his debut in 2012 with Honda in the Moto3 World Championship, Rins battled for the lightweight and intermediate titles each year before stepping up to the premier class in 2017. Having claimed 15 wins, including three premier class victories, and a total of 55 podiums, 15 in MotoGP, Rins brings a wealth of experience to HRC and the LCR Honda CASTROL Team.

Álex Rins

“I am very happy to be joining the LCR Honda Team. Changing team and bike is a challenge but I am ready to give my 100% and to put into practice everything that I’ve learnt during my years in the MotoGP class.

Lucio and Honda’s trust have been crucial for me in deciding to take on this challenge with this factory. I would like to thank them for this opportunity.”

Lucio Cecchinello

“I am delighted to announce that Álex Rins will be the LCR Honda CASTROL rider in 2023. We’ve just finished signing the contract, all 3 parties, so we are finally able to announce it. Rins is an experienced rider, a fast rider and a podium finisher.

This 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 our bike package, aiming to fight for more podiums.”

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Comments

"[H]is style is fast and sweeping, rather than physically aggressive, the opposite of what the bike appears to demand."

Exactly my thoughts. This will be extremely interesting to see how he does. And a big part of that will be how much progress the mighty HRC can make on fixing their bike for next year. I do want him to do well, he seems like a very nice guy and has proven his ability more than once.

Really happy that Alex has signed and will be in MotoGP next year.  His riding style is a thing of beauty, and I have confidence that he will adapt to (and help improve) the Honda.  He and Joan certainly got a raw deal with Suzuki leaving so abruptly, and I'll be pulling for both of them to do well next year.  

Oh, Alex. There is hope for the Honda bike, but as of now it officially sucks. The "unofficial" Gresini Ducati keeps getting better, the 2022 bike is planned to get the 2023 updates by Summer break making the spec very close to the same. And the Red guys with all the pressure sort the new kit for you?! Pretty official. It may pain you to watch Alex Marquez's early 2023 tail section. You are a better rider. 

If Alex Rins just got himself out of a pressure induced crash truck frequent flyer program aboard the Suzuki of handling/front feel beauty, what might the crystal ball say for his transition to a Honda?

Officially concerned. Up your health insurance. Focus on bike development and staying healthy and bring the bike forward incrementally. If you regress like I expect, you are being voted most likely to need a replacement rider. 

Ouch!

Mir? More pressure at HRC (look at what LCR is used to for performance, vs expectations at Repsol?). He isn't as vulnerable as Rins to crashing. The odds that both riders adapt from Inline 4 riding AND the new Honda bike gets developed well by them, a new kid, and a broken Marc pulling it backwards? Tough to see! Honda would have to put Mir at the center of their program and move forward. Odds of this? Officially slim.

Rins remains an enigma.  I hope he goes well but recent history is not on his side.

I wonder if both Rins and Mir are hedging their bets on Marc not returning to top form and retiring early, leaving them in position to assert themselves as a HRC #1.  They'll need to steer bike development back towards something that does not constantly try to maim its riders.  HRC could start with the off-throttle highsides, what is with that?

I've only done it once so I'm no expert. Similar to a proper highside on the throttle, the rear looses grip, slides, grabs again and flicks the rider towards the sky. But because it happens on the way into the corner it's a bit different. Entering a turn, closed throttle, engine braking, using more front brake takes weight off the rear. If the rider is asking too much from the rear it can loose grip. I've had the rear come around a little on the street. When Marc etc do this it's faster, bigger forces involved. rear tire slips, back end off the bike goes sideways, grips again, Boom! Wake up in hospital.

Mine was at Oran Park, slipped on another bike's coolant, rear grabbed when we hit dry tarmac, crunch. Not my bike, sorry Mikl.

BSB at Brands Hatch long circuit this weekend. World Ducati weekend at Misano, I'm not going to either. Stuck in Wintry Oz.

Are we there yet? 

(Warning, rated PG-13 satire re 2022 Ducati Factory seat decision process)

Ducati Roman Arena for Weak Release

Every World Ducati employee will enter the Arena Misano this end of the weak. Gates will reopen ONLY when a single plebeian remains, covered in Red.

One shall survive! 

Our Ducati Lenovo Factory MotoGP contract signee, may luck be in your bloody favor.

(Oh, but also we guess befuddled Spanish Alex Marquez just gets early spectator thumbs up on one already but never you mind. Why? Blood thirsty thumbs down from a crowd looking on as Alex Rins is a feature attraction getting MAULED by the Honda hell beast).

RESULTS:

Pecco Bagnaia V4

2 Luca Marini V4

3 Marco Bezzecchi V4

4 Jack Miller V4

5 Enea Bastianini V4

6 Jorge Martin V4

7 Axel Bassani V4

8 Johann Zarco V4

9 Fabio Di Giannantonio V4

10 Luca Bernardi V4

11 Danilo Petrucci V4

12 Philipp Ottl V4

13 Federico Caricasulo V2

14 Nicholas Spinelli V2

15 Maximilian Kofler V2

16 Oliver Bayliss V2

17 Federico Fuligni V2

18 Alvaro Bautista V4

19 Michael Rinaldi V4

20 Michele Pirro v4

Ducati apparently has let just one entrant live aside from sober Bagnaia. No advantaged VR46 academy riders were selected since an 8 lap race at Misano on equal superstock equipment is basically just another academy day, they were deemed to have cheated. 

Jack Miller was the last one standing atop the non Pecco bodies. As is the Ducati way, he then gets shown the door to Orange.

Ducati or Honda? I wouldn't have chosen the Honda, hope he knows what he's doing.

If it had been Honda or Yamaha, it would be Honda, without knowing what Yamaha are going to bring next year. The current Yamaha being too much of a gamble whether you're going to be able to ride it well or not.

Alex’s choices may not have been apples to apples in the big picture.  The Honda may not be the most desirable bike (right now), but I believe more factors went into his decision than simply which bike.  Salary, of course, team, development participation, etc.   Best of luck to both Suzuki riders for weathering the storm so professionally.