Iker Lecuona closing on Team HRC Honda ride for 2022 WorldSBK season

KTM MotoGP rider Iker Lecuona suggests he has signed to join the 2022 WorldSBK grid with rumours linking him to the factory HRC Honda ride

The new Tech3 KTM Turns Orange for MotoGP 2021

Iker Lecuona is closing on a deal that would see him join a catalogue of riders in making the jump from MotoGP to the WorldSBK Championship amid talk he will sign to ride the factory Honda for 2022.

Prior to the Aragon MotoGP, Tech 3 KTM rider Lecuona hinted that he has tempting options available to him in WorldSBK having failed to secure an extended stay in the premier class after two seasons.

Over the weekend these rumours gathered pace with Lecuona being closely linked to fill one of the available seats at Team HRC Honda, replacing Ducati-bound Alvaro Bautista.

“I think next week, I expect it,” he told reporters in Aragon. “You know, when you sign a contract, it’s not easy; you don’t speak and sign directly at the first meeting. You need to think a lot, to speak a lot, and to prepare all the small points. I know my future, I know where I will be next year, but for now it’s not signed.

“We still finalising every point in the contract. I expect to say something at Misano if everything is fine.”

“I think I’ve learnt a lot of things for my life too. I’m very happy to have stayed here for two years. I don’t know if, in the future, I will come back or if I will stay in another Championship. I don’t know; I just know I want to continue these performances, to continue to enjoy, to fight with my idols, and then we will see what happen.”

“For now I can’t say where I go; I can say that I know my future and that it is not only one year, so I am more relaxed. I’m happy with the opportunity and very happy with the new objective. For now, I can’t say anything!”

Is WorldSBK with Honda a good move for Iker Lecuona?

Given Honda’s heritage and the budget and influence behind its latest WorldSBK effort, it’s perhaps surprising it doesn’t have myriad riders looking to get on the CBR1000RR-R.

However, that is testament to what has been a difficult couple of seasons for the outfit, which shares factory space with the multiple title-winning Honda MotoGP programme, with the bike proving moderately competitive but the slowest of the five factory bikes.

That said, Lecuona might prove a low profile but savvy signing. The Spaniard wasn’t an obvious choice for a MotoGP promotion when KTM came knocking for 2020, though that was in part dictated by the exit of Johann Zarco prompting a reshuffle.

Lecuona hasn’t shone in MotoGP but hasn’t disgraced himself either, while his form in recent rounds has taking an upturn with the pressure of knowing he won’t be at Tech 3 KTM next year lifted from his shoulders.

A sixth and a seventh in Austria and the UK was followed by a shining effort in Aragon where he could have finished top six again in a low attrition race had he not run off track and dropped to 11th.

Time is on his side and while he might lack some development nous, that role will be assumed by whomever lines up alongside him.

As for whom that may be, Leon Haslam is out of contract but it is known Honda is talking to another ultra experienced Briton in Tom Sykes, who helped Kawasaki and then BMW come up to scratch.

As for Haslam, he could be shifted onto a better-supported third entry run by the MIE Racing team.