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Rins surprised by relationship change with Kawauchi at Honda after Suzuki days

Alex Rins has been surprised by the change in his relationship with Ken Kawauchi when the pair both joined Honda, while the Spaniard prepares to make his MotoGP comeback.

Alex Rins, Team LCR Honda

Ken Kawauchi was one of the keys to the success at Suzuki on its return to MotoGP from 2015 and, together with Davide Brivio, he took charge of the technical side up until the Japanese manufacturer quit the series at the end of 2022.

Alex Rins joined Suzuki on his MotoGP debut in 2017 and remained part of the team until its racing division was closed last year.

Both Rins and Kawauchi found refuge at Honda, Rins joining satellite squad LCR while Kawauchi became HRC technical manager and replaced Takeo Yokoyama.

Since his first ride on the RC213V at the Valencia test last November and up until his move to Yamaha in 2024 was announced in the build-up the British Grand Prix, the Spaniard had been calling for more attention from Honda, who he feels have not been as supportive as they could have been, despite its current crisis.

It was thought Kawauchi’s presence in the senior Honda ranks would have helped in that regard, but Rins said that was far from the case.

"My relationship with Ken so far has been super different to what it was at Suzuki, and very different to what I expected. I don't know if it's been on Ken's side or Honda's side, but the communication has been super poor," Rins said on Autosport sister site es.motorsport.com's Por Orejas podcast.

"I was expecting the same thing you were expecting. That, coming from Suzuki, where we were together for many years, at Honda we would also talk, we would meet. It was not at all what I thought."

Ken Kawauchi, director técnico de Honda

Ken Kawauchi, Honda technical director

Before signing for HRC and joining satellite squad LCR, Rins was offered the chance to sign for Gresini, but eventually opted for LCR because the offer secured him a factory rider deal.

But the components and bike Rins had been competing with before his injury in Mugello, for the most part, was different to what Marc Marquez and Joan Mir had in the factory Repsol Honda squad.

"It's not that Honda didn't give me technical support, it was more a question of a lack of trust, of not counting on me for development, of not believing in me anymore," Rins added.

"Since the beginning of the season, even since the Valencia test last year, my bike has been different from the factory team. Even if it was in small things, but different. In the end you get used to it, but that's why I decided to sign for Yamaha."

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Rins is the only Honda rider to take victory so far this season, triumphing at the Americas GP, and despite missing the last four rounds he is still the highest placed Honda rider.

"After winning in Texas everything stayed the same," Rins said.

Rins has been out of action since breaking his leg at Mugello in June but could be set to return to action this weekend at the Austrian GP.

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