Rins says Honda is ‘more demanding’

Alex Rins

Alex Rins reflected on a ‘great race’ as the Spanish rider gave LCR Honda its first MotoGP podium since 2019 with a sensational ride to second place in the Sprint shootout at the Circuit of the Americas in Texas.

Rins gave his all on the opening lap to stay ahead of pole man and eventual winner Francesco Bagnaia, who eventually edged clear before going on to seal a dominant victory on the factory Ducati at Round 3 of the championship.

Rins fought off Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro before repelling a late attack from Jorge Martin, who charged through the field to challenge for the runner-up spot on the Pramac Ducati after starting from 12th place.

It was a stunning result for Rins in his maiden season on the satellite Honda and the former Suzuki rider is hopeful of producing a similar performance in Sunday’s main race.

“We did a really great day today, in qualifying and also in the Sprint race,” said Rins.

“I gave my maximum and I tried to overtake as soon as possible Pecco, because I knew that he had a very good pace, so I tried to ride on my own.

“But then he overtook me and in corner 12 I go fully straight because it was a bit difficult to not have locking on the front, and to stop the bike. But anyway, we did a great race – let’s see tomorrow.”

Rins feels the data gathered in the blistering heat in the Sprint race will allow his team to make some beneficial changes to the bike should the temperatures remain equally as hot for the main race.

“For sure, this bike is not the same as the bike I was riding last year and what I can say is that on the chicanes, this one is more demanding,” he said.

“I need to do more strength with my body to be fast, but let’s see tomorrow.

“We have a good bike, we have a lot of information. Today, with these hot temperatures, we didn’t expect and we didn’t ride in these temperatures before.

“So, for me the electronics side was not working at one hundred per cent. So let’s see if tomorrow it’s warm like this, we have information, then also what Pecco says: the race today was quite fast.

“So, we need to take a little bit more care on the tyres to arrive with a better performance at the end of the race.”

His result comes at a track where Honda has been dominant in recent years, with Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez – absent this weekend as he continues his recovery from a right hand injury suffered in a crash in Portugal – winning seven times.

Marquez’s only defeats came in 2019 when he crashed out of the lead, handing victory to Rins, and 2021, when he finished sixth after being forced to start from the rear of the grid following a technical problem before the start of the race.

The 2023 Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas starts at 14:00 local time (Central Daylight Time) Sunday April 16/05:00 AEST on Monday April 17.

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