“It’d be a kick in the b****! It hurts a lot! Honda not ready for a young rider”

Iker Lecuona has given an emotional response to being overlooked for the 2024 Repsol Honda seat and says it would be “a kick in the b****” if a young Moto2 rider is chosen.
Joan Mir, new Honda chassis, Japanese MotoGP, 29 September
Joan Mir, new Honda chassis, Japanese MotoGP, 29 September

Lecuona will ride for LCR Honda at this weekend’s Malaysian MotoGP as a replacement for the injured Alex Rins, and has also replaced Marc Marquez during his absences previously while holding down a WorldSBK place.

But, he won’t receive Honda’s full-time bike next year, and is annoyed by the possibility of Fermin Aldeguer - the 18-year-old Moto2 starlet - being selected ahead of him.

Asked if he’d been told who will replace the outgoing Marquez at Repsol Honda, he told AS: “No! Honestly, no, and that hurts, hurts a lot.”

And Lecuona admitted the pain is worse if a rider with less experience is picked.

“One hundred percent, you don't really know what a kick in the balls that would be,” he said. 

“That's how I say it, then my manager will come and tell me whatever, but it would be a kick in the balls, yes. 

“Because I think that Honda is not ready to take on a young, inexperienced rider. 

“I am young, but I have two years of experience in MotoGP. 

“I have had very good races and I have gone very fast with the MotoGP in the fifth race with the Honda, at Silverstone in which the weather did not allow it and a race with a small bike, which was Marc's, due to size, which was the first time I got on it. In fifth I was ahead of two Hondas in the short race and close to the other. 

“So, yes, yes, a kick that hurts, the kind that you need half an hour to recover from.”

Lecuona’s emotional reaction to being overlooked continued.

“Disappointment, yes. I admit that,” he said.

Iker Lecuona, MotoGP sprint race, Catalunya MotoGP, 2 September
Iker Lecuona, MotoGP sprint race, Catalunya MotoGP, 2 September

“When they told me it was a disappointment, after all the effort, sacrifice and work. 

“In the end you get excited about something like that because you are there, day after day working for a goal that in the end doesn't arrive, for A or B.

“I'm not saying anything anymore, but you do get a letdown, which was in the end week of the Jerez race. 

“I have to take the positive things and also the objective was to sign two more years with HRC, with the official Honda factory team [in WorldSBK], where I know that I am highly valued and that they love me. 

“That's why they signed me again for two years. They trust me and they have renewed me again.”

Lecuona took issues with the explanation he was given for not being chosen as a full-time Repsol Honda rider.

“There is one that I don't believe and another that is a bit of the situation that my representative explained to me, who comes from outside. 

“He sees it in one way, they comment on it in another way and I am the rider and that's why I am the person who can take it for good or bad.

“I took it very badly and then he explained to me that it is because of this, this and this... 

“As an intermediate point I then said, well, it makes sense, they have reasons to do that, but I still am not satisfied. 

“Well, what I wanted was something else, but I'm still happy in SBK. I know that a bike arrives with many changes, so I really want to get on that new bike to see if they have really stepped up and brought what they have said they are going to.”

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