Iker Lecuona fails to complete Phillip Island test as Honda struggle again

Xavi Vierge and Iker Lecuona feel as though a step forward has been made despite being off the pace at the Phillip Island test.

Iker Lecuona
Iker Lecuona

Xavi Vierge finished the one-day WorldSBK test in 16th place, while Iker Lecuona was 19th after failing to set a lap time during the afternoon session.

Over 1.4 seconds down on Toprak Razgatlioglu’s new lap record, Vierge and Honda seemed to be struggling for pace once again. 

But the Spaniard is not too displeased with his race pace heading into this weekend’s opening round: “Luckily, we were able to complete the test by changing the schedule. 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.”

For Lecuona, a tip-off at turn 11 during the morning session resulted in him missing out on the entire afternoon running.

Unhappy with the performance after Portimao, Lecuona believes a small step has been made although it appears as though it won’t be enough to challenge for big points this weekend.

“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,” began Lecuona.

“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.

“I want to apologise to the team because it’s not the start we wanted of course. It’s also frustrating because I really love competing at this track, but I will follow the doctors’ advice and do all I can to improve my physical condition.”

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