The all-rookie Honda line-up completed their second test with Team HRC at Jerez as Iker Lecuona and Xavi Vierge continue to adjust to new surroundings
The two-day test at Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto may have been cut short for Team HRC as a few teams from the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship paddock descended on southern Spain, but it did not stop both Iker Lecuona and Xavi Vierge feeling positive after the test day. The team opted to skip the second day of testing after Team Manager Leon Camier described Wednesday’s running as “fantastic”.
The pair got their first taste of the CBR1000RR-R machine at a test in December at the same venue and were able to test new components as the team returned to Jerez. Different suspensions were trialled with the team running Showa suspension in the test, as opposed to Öhlins, as well as Nissin brakes after using Brembo.
Lecuona returned to the track for the first time with Team HRC since an accident in his first test which injured his hand, with the Spanish rider admitting he was “not yet 100%” ready. However, the Spaniard was able to post the third-fastest time on the team’s sole day of testing with a 1’40.496s, a tenth off teammate Vierge and pacesetter Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK).
Discussing the test, Lecuona said: “I’m honestly very happy because I felt really good and strong on the bike. My hand was not yet 100% ready, but I could manage OK and was able to work well with the team. We were able to test everything anyway and complete our entire work schedule. It was an intense day in which we were able to complete many laps of the track, also because we were very lucky with the weather. By the end of the day, I was experiencing some pain in my hand but, all in all, it’s been a really satisfying test so we will save the second day for another time. Now the focus is on preparing for the next session and ensuring that I’m back to full fitness with my hand”.
Vierge continued his adaptation to WorldSBK and the factory Honda setup with another day of testing, where he was able to lap faster than teammate Lecuona. The Spanish rider posted a lap time of 1’40.342s, just 0.026s behind pacesetter Lowes. After spending seven years in Moto2™, Vierge is preparing for his first campaign in WorldSBK with the Honda CBR1000RR-R.
Explaining how his adaptation to WorldSBK is going, Vierge said: “We are testing many things on the electronics side and in the setup, trying to test different things to understand the bike. Also, a new type of tyres. It’s positive. We are going in the right direction. Everything we try, I understand the way to go faster so really happy. I’m happy with our adaptation. Four days in Jerez, it’s a track that I know a lot so it’s a good track to start with a new category. I think we are going in the right direction. Our pace already is quite fast. I need to take a bit more profit about the new tyres, coming from completely different tyres that work differently. When you put on the new tyre, you need many laps until the tyre starts to work well and here is like the opposite. When you put on the new tyre, you have a lot of grip that you need to take advantage of. The thing that struck me a bit more is to take advantage to make a fast lap and we are working on that.”
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