The former Tech 3 KTM MotoGP rider has been the most impressive WorldSBK rookie so far this season, while Honda have also taken big steps forward in their development of the CBR1000RR-R.

However, Honda remains locked in a battle with BMW to see who will finish fourth in the constructors championship, with only five points separating them. 

Lecuona is the leading Honda rider as he sits eighth in the WorldSBK standings heading into Portimao, which is one spot ahead of Scott Redding

Lecuona, who was part of a two-day test for Team HRC at Aragon recently, tried a multitude of new parts although none will be brought forward for the remaining four rounds of 2022.

Speaking ahead of this weekend, Lecuona added: “I expect a lot but at the same time, I want to stay calm. I feel strong with the bike; I feel good, happy, confident with the team and myself. 

“Portimao is a track I know well since 2016. I like the track, it’s difficult, but in winter we had two days testing here with Superbike. My target is to stay close to the top guys and try to recover points to Lowes and Locatelli who I think we can fight with for P5 overall. 

“We had two days testing at Aragon last week; we tried something on the base. In Barcelona, in the end, we struggled a lot with the rear tyre. We had a lot of problems with the electronics and with the power and grip. I think we improved it but, if I’m honest, this year it’s the bike we have. 

“We don’t have anything more. All the new parts we tried at the Aragon test are for next year. We want to start next year in a top position if we can; I know we have the speed and if we find a little bit more rear grip, we can have pretty good results in the last races.”

‘I just need to get fitter and faster’ - Michael Van Der Mark

Without the Dutchman for much of the season, BMW’s hopes of beating Honda to fourth in the championship could be aided by the experienced Van Der Mark, who is getting closer to full fitness.

The former Honda and Yamaha rider has had a disastrous 2022 campaign due to injury, while claiming the ‘speed is still there’ and that he just needs to unlock it.

Van Der Mark added: "I just need to get laps in and get fitter and faster. I missed half the season, it’s not easy to get back on the bike. 

"The base speed is always there but it’s just the last little bit which is hard to find. Everyone has a different mentality and I’m just chasing them. We have to stay calm and go step by step. 

"When you get tracks like this that I really enjoy, it makes life a bit easier. I think the first thing for Garrett [Gerloff], it was nice in Barcelona to see him gain his confidence back and getting back on the podium. 

"Everybody knows he’s a fast rider, a talented rider, and I think he’s been having some issues since 2021. I’m sure now when he gets confidence back, he’ll jump on the BMW and he will get up to speed as well."