Determined Rins Fights For Fifth, Finishes Ninth In Argentina
Alex Rins (LCR Honda CASTROL Honda RC213V) was the best performer of Honda’s two starters in today’s soaking wet Argentine Grand Prix, battling for fifth and finally finishing in ninth position, despite vision problems in the rainy conditions.
The 27-year-old Spaniard was riding only his second race aboard an RC213V and his first in the rain, so his speed was impressive. Just as importantly he learned plenty during the weekend at Termas de Ro Hondo, both in the dry and the rain, which will help Honda engineers improve the RC213V, especially in the machine’s chassis settings and electronics strategies.
Rins was fast throughout most of the weekend, ending Friday tenth fastest to guarantee his place in yesterday’s coveted Q2 qualifying session. A few hours later the five-times MotoGP race winner struggled to 15th in the sprint race, but what he learned in those 12 laps helped him and his crew improve his bike for today’s 25-lap Grand Prix. He would certainly have done better if he hadn’t had vision issues with his helmet visor.
Team-mate Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda IDEMITSU Honda RC213V) gave it everything he had today, completing the first lap in ninth position and fighting hard to stay inside the top ten. However, the 31-year-old from Chiba couldn’t quite manage it, completing the GP in 13th place.
His main issue was a dirty windscreen, made so by the amount dirt kicked up in the rain from the little-used track. This compromised his vision, making the race very challenging for the Japanese ace who expected much more after showing great speed on Friday, Saturday and in Sunday morning warm-up.
The Repsol Honda Team was sadly absent from today’s grid, with both its riders recovering from injury. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V) was ruled out of the Argentine Grand Prix following a crash during last weekend’s season-opening Portuguese GP. The fall broke a finger on the 30-year-old Spaniard’s right hand, which required minor surgery.
New team-mate Joan Mir (Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V) was ruled out of today’s Grand Prix after a heavy tumble in yesterday’s sprint race. The 25-year-old Spaniard fell after him and Fabio Di Giannantonio made contact during the opening lap of the race.
Mir suffered cervical physiological lordosis (damage to the neck) and cranial trauma in the subsequent crash. Both the 2020 MotoGP World Champion and Honda’s six-times MotoGP world Champion hope to return to action in the next MotoGP round, the Grand Prix of the Americas outside Austin in the USA, two weeks from now.