“Completely different” – Mir, Rins discuss Honda adaptation

by | Feb 16, 2023 | Aprilia, Ducati, Honda, KTM, motoGP News, Suzuki, Yamaha

“Completely different” – Mir, Rins discuss Honda adaptation

The 2020 World Champion and five-time premier class race winner discuss how they’re feeling on Honda’s RC213V after the Sepang Test

Joan Mir and Alex Rins are embarking on a very similar adventure in 2023. Having left Suzuki at the end of 2022, the new Repsol Honda Team and LCR Honda Castrol riders are now getting to grips with Honda’s RC213V ahead of the upcoming season.

After an initial taste test in Valencia last year, the Sepang Test was a huge weekend for all the riders and teams to get back into the groove. None more so than the riders switching manufacturers this year, including two of the most successful premier class stars over the past few years: 2020 World Champion Mir and five-time MotoGP™ winner Rins.


Mir steps into the same garage as eight-time World Champion Marc Marquez. Some might say it’s the most exciting and intriguing rider pairing on the grid in 2023 – and there’s a few pairings that could wear that accolade. But how has Mir adapted to his new factory HRC surroundings, and more importantly, the bike?

“The bike is completely different to the one I tried before, the riding style is huge how it’s changed,” said Mir when debriefing in Sepang. Suzuki’s former inline-four has similar characteristics to Yamaha’s inline-four – typically a more agile machine but one that tends to lack a bit of top end grunt. The Honda – like the Aprilia, Ducati and KTM – is a V4. Hence why the bikes behave in a different way. 

“[I’m] happy with the progress that we are doing, I feel stronger than yesterday and I feel the bike is more like mine and I am able to ride in a better way than yesterday,” commented Mir on the final day of the Test. “Happy overall, the team works pretty well during these three days and this is a boost for the start of the season.

 

“For sure we are still a bit far, but every day we are closer. So this is very important that every day we feel better with the bike, that I’m riding more like a Honda style, I’m riding in a completely different way now and this is a way that I enjoy. These days I learned a lot, the team helped me a lot to help me understand how to be competitive with this bike, and we are following the good steps, but I’m still a rookie with this bike.”

When checking the lap time analysis from the final day of testing in Malaysia, you notice Mir didn’t manage to string a proper MotoGP™ Sprint simulation in. On the other hand, Rins did.

“Well honestly I’m quite happy with the work we did during these three days, at least today there was a lot of time on dry conditions. I’m getting more used to the bike and I’m freer when riding, and overall the team and myself, we’re quite happy,” said Rins, who goes on to explain the Sprint simulation he got under his belt.

“We also tried to make a Sprint simulation in those conditions. Ok we’re far away from Ducati on the pace but we are 0.5s, not that much when it’s the first time here on the Honda. We still don’t have a good base on the bike, we’re trying to find some different things and different setups, so overall I’m quite satisfied.”

Let’s have a look at that Sprint outing a little closer. Rins’ effort consisted of 10 laps, his best being a 1:59.646. In total, six of his laps were in the 1:59 bracket – one in the 1:59.6s, one in the 1:59.7s, three in the 1:59.8s, and one in the 1:59.9s – while three were set in the low 2:00s.

Comparing that to table-topper Luca Marini (Mooney VR46 Racing Team), we see that 0.5s gap that Rins is talking about. Marini’s 10-lap Sprint simulation shows the Italian lapping consistently in the 1:59s, his best being a 1:59.144. Seven of Marini’s laps were under a 1:59.5, while the number 10’s worst lap was a 1:59.701 – under a tenth of a second slower than Rins’ best. Although 0.5s is a sizable chunk of time in MotoGP™, it’s important to note that it was Rins’ fourth day on the Honda, and Marini was on a bike he’d been riding for the entirety of 2022.

As Rins mentions, overall he’s happy with how the first three days of pre-season testing played out. Clear improvements were made from the Valencia Test, especially with the throttle connection. The Spaniard also goes onto explain how it’s a good thing that the four Honda riders – himself, Mir, Marc Marquez and Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) – have the same feedback on where Honda need to improve.

“I feel an improvement yes, for sure I feel a big improvement on the engine side with the throttle connection. In Valencia I was struggling a little bit to find this connection. Still we need to improve the bike because there are still points where it’s missing something, and the good thing is that more or less all four of us Honda riders are complaining about the same thing. So let’s see if they can improve this.”

The next outing for Mir and Rins, who finished the Sepang Test in P12 and P18 respectively – Mir just a promising tenth off teammate Marquez – is a trip to the Algarve for two more days of pre-season testing. It’s going to be two crucial days in Portimao for the duo to get more acquainted with their new thoroughbreds before the 2023 MotoGP™ season properly begins at the end of March.

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