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.
“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.”
“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.”