The 2022 WorldSBK rookie has high expectations following a brilliant pre-season, and while it was by no means a bad day for the Spaniard, Honda don’t appear to be in the mix as it stands. 

Honda made significant strides forward with its two rookies during pre-season testing, so much so that they jumped ahead of BMW in terms of performance. 

But with the likes of Kawasaki and Joanthan Rea in particular, world champion Toprak Razgatlioglu and Ducati showing very strong pace, Lecuona could only claim tenth on combined times. 

While tenth is a decent first day performance for any rookie, especially since 2022 is arguably the strongest Superbike line-up ever, Lecuona was 1.2 seconds off which is a considerable margin considering Rea’s top time was not bettered during FP2. 

Despite needing more, Lecuona remains content with the overall performance he showed: “I’m pleased with the work we’ve done today. This morning we basically worked with the hard tyre before putting in the soft, with which we improved our lap time, not by a huge amount because we are still a bit far off, but we saw some progression. 

“Then, in the afternoon, conditions were a bit different, windier, but we kept working to prepare for the race, making a long run of 15 laps which we were very constant. 

“We are a few tenths short, that’s clear, but we’ve had a good day and now have a lot of data to look at in order to try and build on our speed tomorrow.”

Vierge produces solid performance after season opener was in doubt

On the other side of the Team HRC garage, former Moto2 rider Xavi Vierge was only two tenths off Lecuona despite being in the midst of an injury recovery. 

In fact, Vierge was quicker than Lecuona in FP2, however, it’s the ex-MotoGP rider’s time from FP1 that secured him a better result overall. 

“I’m happy with our first day. It was important to recover as soon as possible and as well as possible in the days following my injury and I’m pleased to say that I’m already feeling better today than I did during testing earlier this week,” said Vierge. 

“I also think we made a step forward in terms of our consistency as, during the test, I couldn’t make more than two or three laps, while today we already did a long run of eleven, so this is really important looking ahead to tomorrow. 

“We’ll now analyse all the data to see where we can improve a little more, but considering my physical condition, I think we are doing a good job.”

Technical issues hamper WorldSBK newbie Hafizh Syahrin

While day-one was decent enough for Lecuona and Vierge, Honda’s third rookie Hafizh Syahrin had a somewhat disastrous debut. 

The Malaysian, who brings with him a wealth of MotoGP and Moto2 experience, had technical issues within the first five minutes of FP1. 

And although Syahrin managed to complete the session, FP2 wasn’t much better as a lack of feeling and grip resulted in a 24th place finish and with it a +3.946s deficit to pacesetter Jonathan Rea. 

"We had a tough day today and didn’t feel right with the grip," claimed the former Monster Tech 3 Yamaha man. "Unfortunately, we lost the morning session in that we spent a lot of time in the garage while the team tried to sort out a technical issue on the bike. 

"Then in the afternoon, the feeling was not the same as we had during testing, so now we must look into this to understand how to find the right direction again."

Speaking prior to the weekend Syahrin said achieving top tens was his main objective this year, but given pre-season testing results and day-one of the Aragon weekend, the MIE Honda rider remains a long way away from that at present.