New items, long runs and testing tyres for Honda in two-day Portimao test

Friday, 18 February 2022 18:17 GMT

Team HRC took to the Portuguese venue to continue their winter testing programme with rookies Iker Lecuona and Xavi Vierge

Fresh from launching their 2022 bike for the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship campaign, Team HRC took to the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve for a two-day test in Portugal with riders Iker Lecuona and Xavi Vierge. Taking to the track on Thursday and Friday, the all-rookie line-up continue their adjustments to WorldSBK as they completed plenty of laps on the CBR1000RR-R.

After completing three test sessions at Jerez prior to Portimao, this was the first chance for Lecuona and Vierge to ride their 2022 machine on a different circuit; one that mixes fast, slow and medium speed corners with plenty of undulations. The two test days were run in sunny conditions allowing both riders to continue to adjust to WorldSBK and Team HRC as well as developing the CBR1000RR-R machine.

Vierge was able to try some different items and setups on his machine with a focus on electronics and the bike geometry as he adjusts from several years in the Moto2™ World Championship. The 24-year-old was able to complete a long run on day two of the test despite cooler conditions than on the first day.

Vierge said: “I’m really happy with my feeling with the Honda at this track, having only tested at Jerez up until now. In the beginning I felt like I had never ridden at this track before. Lap after lap, I began to get used to the feeling, gain in confidence, and better understand the flow and the speed – I’ve really enjoyed it. We’ve started to try some different items and set-ups, focusing on the electronics and bike geometry. One very positive thing is that we have been able to improve with every exit we’ve made, smoothly and without delay. Today’s temperatures were a little colder than we expected after yesterday’s perfect weather, but we completed a long run and it was really useful for me and for the team to see how that went and how I felt during it. Over the two days we’ve completed a great deal of laps and collated so much information that will help the technicians to prepare for the next test. We need to continue like this because we are working well and in the right direction.”

For Lecuona, there was a focus on adapting to Pirelli tyres as well as testing some new items on his CBR1000RR-R, with the 22-year-old believing that the points to work on from both Jerez and Portimao are the same. Lecuona, fresh from two years in MotoGP™, was able to lap consistently as he took a step forward.

Lecuona said: “I’m really pleased because we’ve improved a lot over the two days, both in terms of my feeling with the bike and the bike’s overall performance. On Thursday we worked on the tyres and also tested some new items, taking a good step forward in the process and lapping very consistently. Today the weather was slightly less kind, colder and windier, and the asphalt was also a lot colder than yesterday. But we made some progress regardless, and that’s very good news. I’m also happy that my feeling with the bike has been similar both here and at Jerez, two very different tracks. The good points and the points we need to improve upon are essentially the same at both circuits, which means our direction is clear. Now we will turn our attentions to Jerez because we need to carry on in this way.”

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