Spanish rider Xavi Vierge tested some upgrades on his Honda machine as the Japanese manufacturer looked to confirm items from Aragon
With the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya hosting two days of testing for the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship, it was the perfect opportunity for teams and riders to test components as they look to make steps and refine their package. Team HRC were no different with riders Iker Lecuona and Xavi Vierge as they re-tested some components they had tested at MotorLand Aragon the week prior in order to confirm them.
The Japanese manufacturer brought a new chassis bracing and exhaust to the Aragon test and were happy with the upgrades following that test, with the team heading to Barcelona in order to confirm the items at a different circuit. Lecuona was the fastest rider at the test, taking second place on both days, but Vierge was also quick throughout. On Day 1, he posted a best time of 1’41.350s to take fifth place and completed 80 laps, with his best time coming on his 77th lap. His time was similar on Day 2 as he set a 1’41.332s which he set on his 84th lap after completing a total of 85.
Reflecting on the test, Vierge said: “It was really good. In terms of pace, I think we are one of the strongest ones. With the softer tyres, we are missing a fast lap and we need to work on it. We had many different to work on this so it’s good that we have a long break again before Assen to analyse and see what’s positive and what’s not. I’m really happy with our two days of testing. I think we did a really good job from Aragon and also here. We need analyse the data because we did many laps and many different things.”
Vierge also acknowledged where he and Honda could look to make steps forward which comes from their one-lap pace. The Japanese manufacturer were on pole position at this circuit in 2022 with Iker Lecuona but he dropped back in the races and was unable to convert that pole into a podium finish. However, for 2023, the team have been working on their race pace in order to be fast at the end of races which may have sacrificed some of their one-lap pace.
Discussing this, Vierge said: “The thing is that I didn’t really feel different when the tyre is used or new. For race distance, this is amazing, because the pace is always quite strong. For Superpole, to do a fast lap, I struggle a little but because I don’t have that extra that everyone else has. We check a lot the pace from the other riders and many of them, they are slower compared to us, but for one lap they are faster. We need to understand the direction. We always suffer in Superpole and we need to understand and to make a step forward if we want to fight for podium positions.”
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