LCR Honda has confirmed Takumi Takahashi will replace injured Alex Rins for this weekend’s San Marino Grand Prix at Misano.
Takahashi will race in MotoGP for the first time since he competed as a wildcard at Motegi in 2015. Takahashi was a member of the works Honda squad that won the Suzuka 8 Hours last month.
Rins, who is currently recovering from a fractured right leg he suffered in a crash during the Mugello sprint race in June, will be replaced by the 33-year-old Japanese rider.
Iker Lecuona had filled Rins’ seat at LCR for the three previous races, but he is unable to make an appearance this weekend owing to a conflict with the Magny-Cours race in the World Superbike championship.
Lecuona has made two appearances for the factory team in the MotoGP this year, although he made it clear that he would have to prioritize his Honda WSBK commitments in the event of any conflicts.
The young Spaniard, who even offered to skip the Magny-Cours WSBK event in order to keep racing in MotoGP, is claimed to have made a positive impression on Honda’s engineers with his feedback.
Having contacted a number of potential Rins replacements, LCR ultimately settled on Takahashi. Honda test rider Stefan Bradl was also ruled out because he was slated to take part in a Misano wildcard outing.
Andrea Dovizioso is rumored to have been approached by team owner Lucio Cecchinello about making an exceptional return to MotoGP, but he declined. Andrea Iannone, who is still suspended from FIM action until mid-December, was also reportedly approached.
At one point during what became into a convoluted “casting” process for LCR’s home race, additionally Jorge Lorenzo’s name was mentioned.
Tetsuta Nagashima was also taken into consideration due to his previous stint as a stand-in at LCR last year in the absence of a popular star for the event.
However, Honda decided not to change these plans at the last minute because Nagashima is scheduled to test parts intended for next week’s significant post-race Misano in a test this week at Motegi.
Takahashi, who was present at Suzuka accompanied by Nagashima and WSBK mainstay Xavi Vierge in the works Honda squad, has been given the go-ahead to take part in his first MotoGP race in eight years.
After two unsuccessful seasons competing for Honda in British Superbike, Takahashi is focusing his efforts this season in the Stock 1000 class of All-Japan Superbike.