Lecuona: "I think we are ready to fight for the top positions…"

Friday, 31 March 2023 17:30 GMT

Spanish rider Iker Lecuona lavished praise on Honda following the Catalunya test despite a crash at Turn 14 which ended his Day 2 early

Day 2 of the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship test at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya was a mixed affair for Iker Lecuona (Team HRC). He finished the day second in the timesheets, close to the lap record, but a crash early in the day ended with Lecuona taking a trip to hospital and curtailing his running. He returned to the circuit, albeit not riding, and explained his crash as well as why he is very optimistic heading into the Dutch Round.

Lecuona’s best time was a 1’40.521s as he lapped only a tenth away from the all-time lap record which was set by Tom Sykes in the 2021 Catalunya Round in the Tissot Superpole session, when the 2013 Champion was at BMW. However, Lecuona’s test ended early when he had a high-speed crash at Turn 14 which brought out the red flags so his bike could be recovered. Lecuona was taken to the medical centre for a check-up before having further evaluation at hospital. He was discharged on the same day after these evaluations revealed no broken bones.

Discussing the crash and the test day, Lecuona said: “Luckily, I don’t have anything broken. It’s a fast crash. I lost the front. I didn’t do anything crazy. The line has one bump and the front didn’t recover enough, so I lost the front. When I arrived at the gravel, the problem is I was very close to the bike. I arrived with the bike. On the first jump the bike did in the gravel, it hit my foot. In this moment, I thought I broke my foot. It was painful. I was quite scared. Also, with my face, I did five or six rolls in the gravel. My visor lifted up and all the stones went into the helmet. It’s normal. Honestly, I’m happy, all the checks the doctors did were negative. I have nothing broken. If it wasn’t for the face, I wanted to ride again! It’s not the best way to finish this very good test. Yesterday, I went very fast. Today, I went close to the lap record. When I crashed, I would’ve gone under the lap record. I was alone, comfortable on the bike and everything was easier. Thanks to the team because the biked worked really well.”

The Catalunya test comes a week after a strong test at MotorLand Aragon for the Team HRC squad, with both Lecuona and teammate Xavi Vierge praising the progress made. At Aragon, the team tested a new exhaust as well as different chassis bracing, and the Catalunya test was spent making a direct comparison to ensure the upgrades worked at more than one circuit. This has led to Lecuona feeling very confident heading into the Dutch Round.

He said: “Of course, I’m very confident going to Assen. I’m ready 100% for Assen. I’m very excited to go again. Last year, I got my first podium in WorldSBK there. This year, my potential with the bike is even better. I know I can fight for the podium. I think we are starting to be ready to fight for the top positions.”

Team Manager Leon Camier also spoke about the potential of the Honda following recent tests. He said: “The chassis went really well; the exhaust was exactly the same. Everything in general from Aragon was confirmed here. I don’t think Assen will be too bad a track, especially for Iker. Having said that, both of them were more or less similar. Let’s see. We need to be able to qualify a little bit better than we’ve been doing lately. It’s something we understood the direction we went in maybe wasn’t helpful for Superpole but better over race distance, especially for Iker. If we have a good Superpole, I think we can be optimistic.”

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