Rins to make MotoGP comeback at Motegi after injury layoff

LCR Honda rider Alex Rins will make his return to MotoGP action in this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi, having been sidelined by injury since June's Mugello round.

Alex Rins, Team LCR Honda

Rins sustained a broken right leg in a crash in the sprint race during the Italian Grand Prix weekend, and has subsequently missed the last seven grand prix weekends, including last weekend's Indian round.

However, LCR announced that Rins would be making the trip to Japan in hopes of being able to participate in Honda's home race, and on Thursday morning it was confirmed the Spanish rider had passed his medical checks.

Rins will therefore make his first race appearance in more than three months this weekend at Motegi.

His seat at LCR has been taken over variously by Honda tester Stefan Bradl, World Superbike rider Iker Lecuona and Suzuka 8 Hours winner Takumi Takahashi since he has been on the sidelines.

Bradl secured a best finish of 13th in that period in the Dutch TT at Assen, while Lecuona didn't score a point in three outings and Takahashi failed to qualify during his one and only appearance at Misano.

“I’m happy to be back,” said Rins on Thursday. “Two days ago I was in hospital in Madrid, talking to the doctors and looking at the x-rays, but it was a huge difference compared to one month ago. 

“So we decided to continue the [recovery] steps, and the next one is to jump on a MotoGP bike. The main target is to just see if it’s painful or not [in Friday practice]. If it’s super painful, I will have to stop [riding] and continue my recovery.

“At home, I can walk more or less normally. But at 300km/h, it’s much different. When I tried [riding] the last time in Aragon, it was painful in the changes of direction and the right-hand corners, but maybe it was too aggressive. It’s been a month since that test.”


News of Rins' return means Honda will have its full stable of MotoGP riders in action together for the first time since the French Grand Prix in May, as works rider Joan Mir also missed the Mugello round due to injury.

The MotoGP grid will still not feature its 2023 line-up in Japan, however, with Enea Bastianini, Alex Marquez and Luca Marini all out of action. 

Bastianini is still recovering from multiple fractures he suffered in a Turn 1 pile-up at the Catalan Grand Prix and is being replaced by Ducati test rider Michele Pirro. 

VR46 rider Marini suffered a broken collarbone in a collision with team-mate Marco Bezzecchi at the start of the sprint race in India last weekend, while Gresini's Alex Marquez fractured three ribs in a qualifying incident. 

All three are hoping to be able to return to competition next month at the Indonesian Grand Prix. 

Should all be present, and no other riders suffer injury this weekend in Japan, the 15th round of the campaign will be the first in which the full 2023 grid will have been together since FP2 of the Portuguese GP.

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