An upbeat LCR Honda Castrol star was pleased with the gains he’s found when testing Marc Marquez’ factory-spec Honda chassis in Termas
In the absence of injured Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) at the Gran Premio Michelin® de la República Argentina, Alex Rins (LCR Honda Castrol) has been given the chance to have one of his bikes fitted with the chassis the eight-time World Champion has been using so far in 2023.
Speaking after finishing a promising P10 in Practice 2’s electric automatic Q2 top 10 shootout, Rins explained how he’d spent the day doing back-to-back tests on the two RC213Vs he has at his disposal – one boasts the chassis he’s been racing with, the other has Marc Marquez’s chassis.
“A really good day. In my garage I have one bike with my chassis and another bike with the chassis that Marc is using,” said Rins, chatting on Friday afternoon in Argentina. “Honestly I’m quite happy because we work a lot with used tyres, a good back-to-back, and the new one, the one Marc is using, looks like it has more positive things than the one I’m using. I’m quite happy about this.”
Rins – who was undeterred by his Turn 1 crash on Marquez’s chassis – goes on to explain the main area he’s found improvements, as well as admitting he’s also asked HRC if he can test the chassis that Joan Mir (Repsol Honda Team) is currently using. Why? Because that’s different to both his and Marc Marquez’s.
“Joan is also using another chassis and I just asked them that the ideal work to improve the bike and give information is for me to try the one Joan’s using, but then I don’t know how they will do. I’m quite happy I was able to test this one, the one from Marc and yeah let’s try to keep working.
“Tomorrow we will on the set-up because today there wasn’t enough time to test the chassis in a proper way, you need to focus a lot, so for tomorrow let’s try to improve the rear grip, the rear traction because it’s a track where the grip is quite low and I’m spinning all over the place, so let’s see.
Michelin®Grand Prix of Argentina: MotoGP™ P2
“In some corners it allows me to release the brake and keep turning. This is the biggest difference but it’s quite similar to the other one.”
MotoGP™ is a game of minute details, so any gains Rins has found by using Marc Marquez’s chassis will be good news to both him and HRC – and a P10, automatic Q2 place only signifies they’re heading in the right direction.
It’s been a great start to the weekend for LCR Honda as thanks to Rins and Takaaki Nakagami’s (LCR Honda Idemitsu) P8 performance, Honda’s trusty Independent Team have both their riders fighting for pole in Q2 for the first time since the 2021 Styrian GP.
When speaking to motogp.com pitlane reporter Jack Appleyard during Practice 2, LCR Honda boss Lucio Cecchinello also explained how Rins is feeling a bit more pressure this weekend as more HRC engineers gather on his side of the box.
“Yeah Alex said ‘I’m feeling more pressure’, but of course it’s a huge support we’re receiving. We got a new chassis here and as Alex said and yes, it feels it’s going slightly better. We need to continue to compare to give HRC as much information as possible,” commented Cecchinello, who admits the team weren’t able to give Rins the perfect bike in Portimao.
“We didn’t give Alex the perfect bike, I think we were making some small mistakes in the bike setup and we analysed a lot of data and we trusted we could do better… Something belonging to electronics. It’s not easy because Alex has a different riding style so it takes time for our engineers to understand and also to feel his feedback.”