The Japanese Grand Prix is not where Alex Rins will make his MotoGP comeback. After Friday's practice sessions, the rider decided to pull out of Motegi MotoGP weekend. Despite his best efforts, Alex Rins was deemed unfit due to pain after the Japanese Grand Prix Friday's session, thereby ending his weekend. The Spaniard had been sidelined for over four months after breaking his tibia and fibula in a fall at the Mugello Sprint. The Honda LCR rider's road to rehabilitation was rough and he ended up making a major life decision in the meantime. Even if his two-year contract with Lucio Cecchinello's LCR squad was indeed renewable, he would have been free to leave in the event that a factory team came knocking. And this call was from Yamaha, where he will partner Fabio Quartararo from the 2024 MotoGP season.
MotoGP Japanese GP: Alex Rins’ Friday Session at Motegi
The Spaniard's medical team gave him the go-ahead to try riding his Honda RC213V again after missing seven full Grands Prix, but they made it clear that he should pull off if the pain became intolerable so as not to undo the months of hard rehabilitation efforts he has put behind him.
— LCR Team (@lcr_team) September 29, 2023
In the first session, he rode 16 laps and finished 2.3 seconds behind the pace set by the fastest rider while also showing signs of discomfort, perhaps because he had started out without taking any pain medication. However, he quickly realised that there was no use in exaggerating in the afternoon practise, as he only managed to complete 6 laps before stopping and heading to the Medical Centre, where he was subsequently pronounced unfit, as confirmed by the team via social media.
“Alex Rins has been declared unfit due to the pain he felt in his right leg today during track testing. We are proud of his efforts, thanks for trying Alex!”, wrote LCR Honda on social media.
MotoGP Japanese GP: Alex Rins’ Yamaha Move
Yamaha, despite having the 2021 world champion Quartararo on its team, is still ranked second-to-last among manufacturers. The 2023 MotoGP season has been difficult for both Yamaha and Honda. The premier class championship has been shared between Yamaha, Suzuki, and Honda since 1975, with the exception of Casey Stoner's spectacular 2007 season and Francesco Bagnaia's stunning comeback from 91 points down to win the title last year.
Yamaha's M1 shares an Inline engine layout with Suzuki's GSX-RR rather than the V-twin configuration used by Honda, Ducati, KTM, and Aprilia. Yamaha thinks Alex will be a good fit because of his extensive background racing Suzuki's Inline-four engines.