Honda's Precarious Situation: The Threat of Losing Rins to a MotoGP Competitor
Following Suzuki's withdrawal from MotoGP, Alex Rins joined the LCR Honda squad while his former teammate, Joan Mir, became a teammate to Marc Marquez at the factory Honda team. Although Rins races for the satellite squad, he is directly contracted to Honda until the end of 2024. However, there is a clause in his agreement that would allow him to leave early if he receives a factory deal from another team.
Yamaha has approached Rins as a potential replacement for Franco Morbidelli, as Morbidelli's performances have not convinced Yamaha to retain him. However, Rins is currently sidelined due to a serious leg break suffered during the Italian MotoGP sprint race at Mugello. He has undergone two operations, and his return schedule remains uncertain, making it unlikely for him to be fit for the British GP, the first race after the summer break.
If Rins were to leave Honda, it would result in Honda losing a rider who achieved their best result in 2023, winning the United States round in April. Rins has expressed dissatisfaction with Honda's treatment, particularly regarding their overlooking of him for testing new parts. He mentioned feeling unsupported by Honda and wasted back in April, specifically referencing the lack of opportunity to test the different chassis being evaluated by Marquez and Mir. The situation worsened when Marquez tested and raced with a different chassis, the Kalex, which Rins hadn't even been able to test despite requesting it.
It is understood that Rins has the option to join Yamaha, and the decision now rests with Honda to convince him to stay. Rins seems uninterested in continuing his LCR contract under the current conditions and may be open to joining Yamaha, despite their struggles in MotoGP performance. It is not surprising that Rins, like Marquez, is considering his future with Honda if they cannot provide him with a competitive bike to fight for wins and championships, considering the treatment he has received from the Japanese manufacturer.