Lecuona on new Honda: "A really good step… everything changed a lot"

Thursday, 23 November 2023 17:33 GMT

The Spaniard got his first taste of the upgraded CBR1000RR-R machine at Jerez during a two-day test with the #7 happy after the first outing

A few teams from the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship gathered at the Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto for two more days of post-season testing, with Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) trying the new Honda CBR100RR-R Fireblade for the first time at the Spanish venue. The #7 spoke about his first thoughts of the bike following the test, with the Spaniard giving it rave reviews following substantial upgrades made by Honda.

REVIEWING THE TEST: “in terms of chassis, electronics, engine… everything changed a lot”

The Jerez test marked the first time both Lecuona and teammate Xavi Vierge were able to get on the new bike, which was unveiled at EICMA recently. Lecuona looked back on the two-day test full of positivity after getting on the new machine, which features upgrades up and down the bike as the Japanese manufacturer look to become regular podium contenders and race winners as soon as possible. At the test, there was work done on both the 2023 and 2024 bikes to compare the two before all eyes turned to next year’s competitor. 

On the test, Lecuona said: “I’m really happy because it’s a big surprise about the step and the bike that Japan brings us. It’s a big surprise. In terms of chassis, electronics, engine… everything changed a lot. We made a good step in a few areas, and in other areas we are still struggling a little bit that we need to understand better. What is true is that we needed to learn about the feeling of the bike a lot in these two days. I needed to change my style a lot to go fast. Even with the SC0, the performance was amazing. The tyre wear is really good for us; we could never do these laps at the end of the race. Really happy about this.”

DAY 1 BETTER THAN DAY 2? “on the second day, I struggled to understand the bike more”

Lecuona has been competing in both WorldSBK and MotoGP™ for the last few weeks, standing in for Alex Rins at LCR Honda as he continues his recover. His latest Grand Prix exploit came on Sunday at the Qatar Grand Prix before travelling to southern Spain for the two-day test. With the 23-year-old also in Malaysia recently, which he flew to from the season-ending Spanish Round at Jerez, he admitted he still had work to do to understand the bike.

Lecuona added: “I’m very tired from all the travelling so on the second day, I struggled more to understand the bike. We tried to do our best in terms of electronics, where we need to do work compared to last year to understand more new things. I’m quite happy but still we need to improve, we need to understand this new bike. I think it’s a really good step. Let’s see in the next test how it is.”

NEW CREW CHIEF: “his methods and mentality, the way he works, I like the whole package”

Lecuona will have a new crew chief for 2024 with Tom Jojic, formerly crew chief to Kenny Roberts Jr, Hiroshi Aoyama and Bradley Smith in the Grand Prix paddock, joining the team in place of Pete Jennings. Jojic was at the test working for the first time with the #7 at the Jerez test, with Lecuona revealing his thoughts on his new right-hand man.

The Spaniard said: “Really happy with Tom because I feel that he has a lot of experience in MotoGP™. His methods and mentality, the way that he works, everything… I like the whole package. I feel the experience. He’s a really good guy. He’s similar to me: when it’s time to work, he’s working but he likes to joke a lot, smile a lot so I think he’s really good and positive for all of us. For now, I can say that I’m really happy to work with him.”

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