Vierge, Lecuona on pace for Honda as 2022 WorldSBK preparations begin

Xavi Vierge and Iker Lecuona get down to the business for Honda in Jerez ahead of their maiden 2022 WorldSBK Championship campaigns

Iker Lecuona - Team HRC Honda

Xavi Vierge and Iker Lecuona have pronounced themselves satisfied with their first proper WorldSBK test aboard the 2022-specification Honda CBR1000RR-R as they lapped Jerez on the pace with the championship-contending Kawasaki Racing Team in testing.

A two-day outing to break the Christmas hiatus, Lecuona and Vierge joined KRT riders Alex Lowes and Jonathan Rea, plus Puccetti Kawasaki’s Lucas Mahias at the Spanish circuit to dust off the cobwebs.

Following on from their first touch of the Fireblade during a post-season outing in December, ex-MotoGP rider Vierge set the quickest time of the pair, his 1m 40.342s lap a mere 0.026s slower than pace setter Lowes.

“We are testing many things on the electronics side and in the set up, trying to test different things to understand the bike. Also, a new type of tyre. It’s positive. We are going in the right direction, everything we try, I understand the way to go faster so I’m really happy. 

“Our pace is already quite fast, [but] I need to take a bit more profit about the new tyres, coming from completely new tyres that work differently. The thing that struck me a bit more is to take advantage to make a fast lap and we are working on that.”

Following an update of the roadgoing CBR1000RR-R, the test was a chance for HRC to bed in the new Nissin brakes and Showa suspension, a change from Brembo and Ohlins respectively.

Ex-MotoGP rider Lecuona - who was only a tenth slower than Vierge despite completing just a single day on track - was also pleased with the progress despite finding the going difficult with the hand he injured in his first test on the Honda.

“I’m honestly very happy because I felt really good and strong on the bile. My hand was not yet 100% ready but I could manage OK and was able to work well with the team. 

“We were able to test everything anyway and complete our entire work schedule. It was an intense day in which we were able to complete many laps of the track, also because we were very lucky with the weather. By the end of the day, I was experiencing some pain in my hand but, all in all, it’s been really satisfying test.”

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