Lecuona comfortably secured WorldSBK rookie of the year honours in 2022, however, much bigger expectations have been layed out by the former MotoGP rider for 2023.  

The Team HRC rider claimed seven top five finishes this past season, including a maiden podium at Assen when Toprak Razgatlioglu and Jonathan Rea crashed out whilst battling for the lead in Race 2. 

But while such a result would have been difficult to achieve on pure pace alone, Lecuona was often challenging the likes of Alex Lowes, Andrea Locatelli and Michael Ruben Rinaldi, all of whom were on better machinery.

With that said, the steps made by Honda in 2022 were significant and as has been on show during this week’s Jerez test, the Japanese manufacturer is keen to keep pushing after introducing yet more new parts. 

An upgraded engine and new swingarm variation were made available to both Lecuona and Xavi Vierge during the test, while brakes and suspension upgrades are expected to be tested before the new season.

Should the new parts deliver the results expected, then Honda could become a serious challenger next season.

Lecuona said: "For next year, we’ll start with a different mentality than this year. We know the bike had the pole position in Barcelona, fourth places in many tracks, and the podium, so we have the potential. 

"We’ll start with the mentality that we can fight for podiums if everything works well. We’ll see how the tests go and then talk about next year and the performances.

"In the end, the target is to have a lot of potential to start the season at the top. We want to fight for a championship and if we want to do that, we need to develop the bike quickly. 

"Honda are doing everything to bring us new material. I hope that we can arrive with a lot of potential to fight for the top positions. Everyone wants to win; the riders, the team, the factory so we have to give our maximum every day."

Despite working hard to bring both its riders new parts, Vierge is of the mindset that immediate improvements can be made with the same package they finished the season with due to the experience gained from their opening season.

"I think if we don’t change anything with the package we have already, with one year experience, our level will improve," said the Spaniard. 

"However, even with that, Honda and Team HRC are working so much so that it can be even better. We have a bike that in the last part of the straight is very strong and a bike that, depending on the track, is really competitive. 

"We need to figure out and use our experience to start all the weekends well, as this year some of the tracks were new, so we lost time on Fridays. The one year of experience will be a big advantage for us."