WorldSBK: Team HRC finish pre-season testing a man down

Published on February 20, 2024
By Luke Newman

Team HRC has concluded its final pre-season test session at the Phillip Island Circuit in preparation for the inaugural round of the 2024 World Superbike Championship, taking place at the same Australian track on 23-25 February.

Factory Honda riders Iker Lecuona and Xavi Vierge were gradually able to get into a rhythm and exploit the dry conditions as they worked to adapt their new-look CBR1000RR-R to the fast and flowing track.

Lecuona was making good progress until about an hour before the end of the morning’s session, when he suffered a fast crash at turn 11. Hitting the ground hard, the Spanish rider unfortunately injured his left shoulder and was therefore unable to continue with the day’s testing.

Vierge was therefore the sole HRC representative during the afternoon session, during which he continued to work hard to optimize the bike setup, despite much warmer track conditions.

Following on from the test, a now injured Lecuona shared his thoughts: “As I’ve said before, the target is to try and find a way forward with the current base and fully exploit the bike’s performance, and so that’s what we set out to do today.

“At a certain point, we put in a new tyre and, after making a few modifications to the bike, things were feeling good, much better in fact. But then unfortunately I suffered quite an unexpected and fast crash mid-way through turn 11. I hit my left shoulder hard when I fell and I couldn’t continue riding during the afternoon.

“On Thursday afternoon, I will have another assessment with doctors at the medical centre to see whether I’m passed fit to compete this weekend.”

After completing the full test Vierge added his thoughts: “We completed many laps, and I must say that the level of grip the new asphalt offers is amazing, which has helped us address some of our weaknesses.

“We’ve found a good setup for this track, and the feeling with the bike is positive right now. Our race pace isn’t bad, though we’ve again struggled a bit with the soft tyres. While testing the ‘0’ tyre this afternoon, I made a small mistake in the last corner and that really cost me. If we compare our feeling at this track to last year, we’ve improved, and although we haven’t reached our ultimate goal yet, at least the feeling is positive.

“We have a couple more days to try to make further progress before the races. We’re heading in the right direction anyway, and once the real action gets underway on Friday, we’ll be able to better assess our position and build on it.”


Looking to update your website?

ThisWebDesign works with small and medium-sized companies from all over the globe. Our focus is on offering visually engaging websites, social media profiles that convert, and branding that creates a powerful and lasting image.

Recent posts