Is Rins Honda’s Answer?

Is Alex Rins Honda’s new answer?

By Donovan Fourie

Alex Rins took a sensational win in the main MotoGP race at COTA. We say sensational because sensations flowed aplenty. There were the sensations felt by Alex Rins who joins a short list of riders who have won MotoGP races for two different factories. There were the sensations felt by the LCR Honda Team, run by former Grand Prix racer Lucio Cecchinello, at having taken its first win since 2018. And there were the sensations felt by Honda’s management who were on-hand at this crucial race in the crucial market that is the United States.


Deserved Smile!


More than just winning in a crucial market, this is the first win on a Honda by a person who has had the misfortune of not being Marc Marquez since 2018 when Cal Crutchlow stood atop the podium in Argentina. Many questions arise from this – firstly, has Honda finally built a motorcycle that can be ridden by someone who isn’t Marc Marquez? Some clues say it is quite possible.

On the official website, MotoGP tech sage Simon Crafar pointed out that the reason Rins was able to do at COTA what no other Honda rider could do on the day is that he wasn’t riding like Marc Marquez. Marquez’s style on the Honda has been to brake massively hard, skip the bike right into the corner with all the weight still very much on the front wheel, then dip the bike into an incredible lean angle, square the corner off in a jiffy and squirt out.

Mr Crafar pointed out at the beginning of the season that Joan Mir should have an easier adaption from the Suzuki to the Honda as his style of riding, even on the smoother in-line four Suzuki, was like this anyway. During practice, especially over the hot laps, Mir’s style and appearance on the Honda seemed to very much mimic that of Marquez. And yet he has struggled.


Rins was a class act last weekend at COTA


Rins, on the other hand, was using more of the in-line four style, running smoother lines and more corner speed. And it worked. No doubt, the other Honda riders, even Marquez himself, will be poring over Rins’s data to see how he did it. And this leads us neatly to our second question – will Rins be able to continue this success?

History would suggest maybe not. 

The Spaniard raced for the factory Suzuki team for six years before now, and in that time accumulated five wins. Five wins and 20 DNFs. Needless to say, his form has been somewhat sporadic. More so, one of his five previous wins was at COTA when he famously broke Rossi fans’ hearts by snatching the win from the 46 rider in the closing laps. And last year in Texas, he finished on the podium in second place.

Alex Rins likes COTA.

And so, analyzing his MotoGP past leaves a somewhat bleak outlook of a rider who will occasionally shine before dipping back into the mediocre. Or… looking closer at his more immediate past there is a glimmer of hope. 

After a somewhat up-and-down season last year, he ended on a high with a win at Phillip Island, a fifth at the penultimate race in Malaysia and another win at Valencia to close the season. Although the first two races this year did not create headlines, Rins did manage two top tens while coming to terms with the new bike and team. The same bike and team that Taka Nakagami and Alex Marquez struggled to finish top ten with last year. 

Maybe this is the start of a career pick-up, and we all hope it is. Whatever happens, you cannot help but root for the guy. According to his team, in the short months he has been with them, he has already wiggled his way into their hearts with non-stop kindness and generosity. And this is a team owned by a former racer and made up of dedicated race fans. Rins has been in Grand Prix racing for 12 years this year and has not yet won a title. That seems like an injustice.

Beyond that, it would be fun to have Honda back as a motorcycle that can also be ridden by people who aren’t Marc Marquez.

Alex-Rins LCR Honda

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