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MotoGP British GP

Rins joins Yamaha MotoGP team as Morbidelli replacement

Alex Rins has joined the factory Yamaha team for the 2024 MotoGP season in place of Franco Morbidelli.

Alex Rins, Team LCR Honda

On Wednesday morning ahead of this weekend’s British Grand Prix, Yamaha announced it would be parting ways with Morbidelli at the end of the 2023 season.

Morbidelli has been a Yamaha-backed rider since 2019 and was runner-up in the championship the following year, but has struggled for form since stepping up to the factory squad midway through 2021.

It has been rumoured for some time that Rins, currently contracted to Honda at LCR, could take Morbidelli’s Yamaha seat next season.

Wednesday’s announcement has paved the way for this, with Rins expressing at various points this year his frustrations at a lack of support from Honda upon his switch from Suzuki at the end of 2022.

This has come despite Rins being Honda’s only race winner in a miserable 2023 season for the Japanese marque, with the Spaniard taking victory at the Americas GP.

But since that point, Rins hasn’t received any added backing from Honda, which includes never testing the Kalex chassis the factory squad first raced at the French GP.

Alex Rins, Team LCR Honda

Alex Rins, Team LCR Honda

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Rins had intended to remain with Honda and even sought to potentially step up to the factory squad over the coming years.

Though contracted to Honda for two years, Rins’ deal is thought to have a clause in it which stated he could sever ties if a factory team gave him an offer.

Autosport understands that Rins was offered a one-year Yamaha deal prior to the five-week summer break and inked it then, but the Japanese marque asked for him to keep it under wraps while it informed Morbidelli its intentions.

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Rins has been sidelined with a broken leg since the Italian GP at Mugello and will continue to be absent from this weekend’s Silverstone round, with Iker Lecuona replacing him at LCR.

Lecuona, HRC’s World Superbike rider, is thought to be under evaluation from Honda about a potential return to MotoGP, where he competed in 2020 and 2021 with Tech3 KTM – achieving a best result of sixth.

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