It was the best of years, it was the worst of years for MotoGP rider Alex Rins. Number 42 started the 2022 season with three top-five finishes (including one podium finish) in the first four races. Sadly, Rins’ form unraveled shortly after Suzuki announced its intent to cease its MotoGP operations following the 2022 season.
Adding injury to insult, the Spanish rider suffered a fractured left wrist at the Catalan Grand Prix, which kept him from competing in the German GP two weeks later. Back on track at the Dutch Grand Prix, the Suzuki man reeled off five consecutive top-10 finishes. Fortune caught back up with Rins at the Japanese GP, though, where a mechanical error forced the rider to bow out at Suzuki’s final home round.
Lady Luck’s ambivalence couldn’t stop Rins from finishing strong, however. In the final three races of the 2022 season, the LCR Honda-bound rider claimed two victories and one top-five finish. What’s more impressive is that the 26-year-old rider battled through compartment syndrome throughout that dominant stretch.
Commonly referred to as “arm pump”, compartment syndrome occurs when chronic pressure builds in a rider’s forearm as a result of heavy braking forces. With the 2023 MotoGP pre-season tests more than two months away, Dr. Ignacio Roger de Oña completed Rin’s compartment syndrome surgery at Madrid’s Ruber Clinic on December 2, 2022.
“Small surgery today to be at 100% for the next year,” read Rins’ Instagram caption, “we’ve got some work to do.”
Rins isn’t exaggerating about that last point either. 2023 will mark the six-year MotoGP veteran's first ride aboard a non-Suzuki machine. Without Marc Marquez guiding the RC213V development for most of the year, both the Repsol Honda and LCR Honda teams floundered throughout the 2022 season.
With Rins joining the project, he will have to adapt his riding style—and his recently-operated arm—to the demands of Big Red’s race rig.