Spanish rookie Iker Lecuona will make his WorldSBK debut at MotorLand Aragon and, ahead of the first round of 2022, he opened up on long-term goals, joining Team HRC and more
The start of the 2022 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship at MotorLand Aragon will be the start of Iker Lecuona’s (Team HRC) WorldSBK career as he embarks on a new challenge with the factory Honda squad. Lecuona had two seasons in MotoGP™ before joining WorldSBK and prior to his first round, the 22-year-old discussed short and long-term goals, the challenges WorldSBK presents and the “very, very high” level of WorldSBK in 2022.
THE 2022 BATTLE: Lecuona expects lots of battles at the front…
The 2021 season had five winners from different manufacturers as Yamaha, Kawasaki, Ducati and BMW all stood on the top step of the podium, whilst 13 different riders representing all manufacturers claimed a rostrum visit – all manufacturers visiting on more than one occasion. With all winter testing now concluded, and racing getting underway this weekend, Lecuona gave his thoughts on the battle he expects in 2022.
He said: “The level here in World Superbike is very high. Alvaro with the Ducati goes very fast, Toprak with Yamaha and Rea with Kawasaki. There are more riders and their teammates, so I think this year we have three riders who have a lot of potential to fight for the Championship. But then maybe six or seven riders more, who will fight to win some races, to stand on the podium, so I think the level here in World Superbike is very, very high.”
LECUONA’S GOALS: building for a title challenge…
After two seasons in MotoGP™, Lecuona arrives in WorldSBK on the CBR1000RR-R machine that scored five podiums in 2020 and 2021, all in the hands of Alvaro Bautista who has returned to Ducati for 2022. The team have switched brake suppliers to Nissin for 2022 and also to Showa suspension, as they looked to take a step forward and challenge consistently for podiums: Can Honda claim a first win since Nicky Hayden won at Sepang in 2016?
Outlining his goals, and discussing his long-term future, Lecuona said: “First, I want to finish the three races because for me, and also for the team, it's very important to take some data and also for me to have the feeling at the end of the race with this tyre. The objective for me is finishing in the top six, top seven, I think it’s a good position for me for now. For this year, I want to be top rookie. I want to stay in a top position. But also, I think the goal is to improve the bike as much as possible to fight for the World Championship next year. So, for 2023, the goal is to fight for a title. About the future, I don't know. A lot of times I thought about the future but, in the last two years, I learned that I need to put the focus on the present and work to arrive at one point. I don't want to think about the future. I want to put the focus now here in Superbike.”
ADAPTING TO WorldSBK: the biggest challenges facing Lecuona
Lecuona’s time in MotoGP™ was spent competing on KTM machinery, where he scored 66 points across the 2020 and 2021 seasons. In WorldSBK, Lecuona will be on the CBR1000RR-R as he goes in search of glory, but plenty of challenges face the 22-year-old. It will be Lecuona’s first time on Pirelli’s Diablo Superbike tyre range and also with three races in a weekend. The Valencian outlined some of the challenges facing him in 2022 ahead of the Aragon Round.
Lecuona said: “For me, I think I have two of the biggest challenges. The first one is the bike and all the package, the tyres, the suspension. I think I changed a lot my style but, at the same time, I enjoy it more so it's a big challenge for me to improve my performance. Also, having three races because it's the first time I raced three times in a weekend, so I know it's something new.”
Watch Lecuona throughout his debut WorldSBK in style using the WorldSBK VideoPass!