Rins Wins For Honda In Brilliant COTA Performance
Honda newcomer Alex Rins (LCR Honda CASTROL Honda RC213V) stormed to a brilliant victory in today’s Grand Prix of the Americas, ending a challenging period for Honda in the best possible way.
Rins success was Honda’s eighth MotoGP winner from the ten MotoGP races staged at the Circuit of the Americas, since 2013. The result also moves him to third in the 2023 MotoGP World Championship.
Today’s third race of the 2023 season took place under clear Texan skies, with Rins building on the brilliant work he had done with his team during Friday and Saturday. Yesterday he qualified an excellent second fastest, just 0.160 seconds behind reigning World Champion Pecco Bagnaia, and from the start of the race it was the 27-year-old versus the reigning champ.
The pair quickly raced away from the rest of the pack, Rins riding like a hero though the circuit’s more twisting sections to keep Bagnaia in sight. Bagnaia won seven races and the title last year, so he was the favourite, but Rins never gave up, keeping the pressure on. Finally it worked. Bagnaia got Turn Two wrong at one-third distance, tumbling into the gravel trap.
That put Rins in the lead. His two main pursuers – Luca Marini and 2021 MotoGP World Champion Fabio Quartararo – tried everything they could to close the gap but Rins (who won here in 2019) never let the pressure get to him, finally taking the chequered flag by 3.498 seconds.
This was a huge success for his independent team – Lucio Cecchinello Racing – which won its last race in 2018, with Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda CASTROL Honda RC213V). It also marked LCR’s 100th podium.
The win was also huge news for Honda, which won its last MotoGP race in 2021, with Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V). Marquez was absent this weekend, recovering from a hand injury sustained at last month’s season-opening Portuguese GP.
COTA was not so kind to Honda’s other three riders today.
The trio all fell, with only 13 riders making it to the finish. Most fallers attributed their tumbles to the slippery track. Joan Mir (Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V), Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda IDEMITSU Honda RC213V) and Stefan Bradl (Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V) and Stefan Bradl (Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V), who all slid off during the latter stages of the race, without injury.
Now Honda’s four MotoGP riders head west, back to Europe, where MotoGP’s European season starts with the Spanish GP at Jerez, Spain, on 30th April. That event is followed by the French, Italian, German and Dutch rounds. Motorcycling’s 75th season of World Championship racing concludes with the Valencia Grand Prix in Spain in late November.