Honda MotoGP overtaking problems ‘remind me of the Suzuki’

LCR rider Alex Rins says the problems he faced in the MotoGP Portuguese Grand Prix with the Honda “reminded me of two years ago with the Suzuki”.

Alex Rins, Team LCR Honda

Rins joins Honda and LCR for 2023 after Suzuki elected to quit MotoGP at the end of the 2022 campaign, and finished his debut weekend with his new employers with a 13th in the sprint race and 10th in the grand prix.

The five-time race winner says his biggest issue in the main race in Portugal was being unable to stick with rival bikes on straights owing to the Honda’s rear grip issues, which reminded him of the battles he faced on the underpowered Suzuki in 2021.

“The most difficult thing for me was the overtakes,” Rins said as he evaluated his first weekend with Honda.

“I’m a bit frustrated, because I was only on the receiving end of passes. I couldn’t overtake any rider, except for one or two, apart from at the start where I recovered some positions.

“But it was a bit of a disaster. When Fabio [Quartararo] overtook me, I was able to ride with him in the low and medium 1m39s.

“But I was struggling a lot. Also, in the last part of the race, the front was pushing a bit. I did my best, I put the bike on the limit.

“It reminds me of two years ago with the Suzuki: we are losing a lot of time on the straight compared to the others and then we recover everything in the corners.”

Honda stable mate Joan Mir showed flashes of pace throughout the Portugal weekend as he made his factory HRC debut.

But a collision with Quartararo in the sprint that left Mir with a long lap penalty for the grand prix ultimately conditioned the 2020 world champion’s grand prix.

Joan Mir had a few problems on his first outing as the team-mate of Marc Marquez (following).

Joan Mir had a few problems on his first outing as the team-mate of Marc Marquez (following).

Photo by: Miquel Liso

“Honestly, what happened with the crash, changed the weekend a lot,” said Mir, who was 11th in the grand prix.

“The result should be very different without retiring from the sprint race, because it was the first time I was able to do more than 10 laps in a row with this bike, and we had a problem warming the tyre.

“We didn’t know this. Naturally, it’s something you can easily solve, but if you don’t know about it, what can you do?

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“So, the race, the first laps were really good, but once I made the long lap I saw I immediately had a problem on the bike and I wasn’t able to give 100% of this bike.

“The bike was just spinning a lot, I was not able to go into the corners with a lot of braking because the rear was coming around. The tyre wasn’t working and this was the problem.”

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