As is often the case in sport, deciding between youth or experience can be a difficult choice. The exuberance of the former can seem an exciting option but comes with plenty of risk, while there is no substitute for the latter either as teams aim to grow and develop.
It seems to be one or the other for LCR Honda’s Team Manager Lucio Cecchinello, as he has to decide who will fill the remaining seat on his Honda satellite team alongside the incoming Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) for 2023. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) is the incumbent, while Moto2™’s Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia) is the pretender.
It’s a crucial period coming up in the rider market, with a number of rides and seats set to be confirmed in the coming weeks, with performances in Silverstone and the Red Bull Ring being taken into account. It’s no different for Nakagami, according to Cecchinello.
“So, together with Honda, we haven’t taken any final decision for the future. Definitely, those next two, three races will be very, very important for Taka’s future.
Cecchinello will also be trading one Alex for another, as Rins replaces Marquez, who will join forces with Gresini in 2023. The LCR boss is delighted to welcome Rins into the fold, feeling he brings a race-winning pedigree to his side, and believes he shouldn’t have too much difficulty adapting to Honda’s ever-changing V4 engine, having ridden on Suzuki’s inline-four engine throughout his premier class career.
"What we can say is that definitely our Honda bike, compared to the past, is going in a direction to be less V-style and more round style, like the inline cylinder. If we take, for example, Maverick Viñales, coming from a history of Suzuki and Yamaha, these bike characteristics and when he swapped to a V engine, it took a little bit but he definitely proved that we can be fast, so we hope that Alex Rins can do the same."