Nagashima to replace injured Lecuona for WorldSBK finale at Phillip Island

Thursday, 17 November 2022 02:46 GMT

The Japanese star will make his World Superbike debut at the iconic Australian circuit, with Iker Lecuona forced to miss the final round of 2022

The 2022 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship will welcome a new name to the grid as Tetsuta Nagashima will deputise for the injured Iker Lecuona for the Grand Ridge Brewery Australian Round. The 30-year-old from Kanagawa in Japan has been busy as a test rider for Honda in 2022 and has had outings in the MotoGP™ World Championship as well as winning the Suzuka 8 Hours race in August, coupled with WorldSBK testing at Misano after the round in June. 

Nagashima’s career began at home in Japan, where he was a regular winner in the GP3 class, before slowly edging over towards Europe and taking part in the Moto2™ World Championship and the FIM Endurance World Championship. He took two podiums in the Moto2™ European Championship in 2015 before scoring points in the main Moto2™ World Championship in 2016. More points were bagged across 2017 and 2018, whilst he took a first pole of his career in 2019’s Austrian Grand Prix. In 2020, his season started in style with a stunning victory at the Lusail International Circuit from 14th on the grid, before he took a second podium in round two at Jerez, on his way to eighth overall in the Championship. 

He scored points as a replacement rider for 2021 in Moto2™, whilst his best finish in the four of his 2022 MotoGP™ appearances came as a 19th at Phillip Island. The highlight of his 2022 season has been helping Team HRC to a Suzuka 8 Hours victory, with Iker Lecuona and Takumi Takahashi. Nagashima had been testing for the WorldSBK team back at Misano in June, replacing the injured Xavi Vierge. He got used to the Pirelli tyres and worked on electronics, geometry setting and balance of the bike, whilst also undertaking a “promising” race run. At the test, Honda introduced a new swingarm, which has been used since for Iker Lecuona.

Speaking about the chance to make his WorldSBK debut, Nagashima is looking forward to showing what he can do: “I’m really happy to compete in the final WorldSBK round because it will be my first experience of the series and I’m both curious and looking forward to it. At the same time, I wish Iker a speedy recovery and hope he’ll be back soon. I will try to help the team with the bike, collecting as much data as possible for the future and doing my best to enjoy this opportunity. As I said, it’s my WorldSBK debut so I don’t know what to expect and the weekend schedule is also new to me but I’m ready to get going!”

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