Signs of life for Honda in WorldSBK? “I can be on the limit”

Iker Lecuona and Xavi Vierge have come away from Honda’s private test in Barcelona raving about the improved performance.

Iker Lecuona
Iker Lecuona

Currently the slowest manufacturer in WorldSBK, Honda are seemingly making big steps forward following a private test in Barcelona.

The Japanese brand was in action with Iker Lecuona and Xavi Vierge, both of whom lauded the efforts made by HRC.

Lecuona said: “Overall, it was positive but like always, when you’re alone on track, you can’t compare.

“We had bad luck on Monday as maybe we had the chance to ride with Kawasaki and Alex Lowes but the rain came and what we wanted to try was for the dry.

“So, on Tuesday, we were alone; the track was quite dirty after the storm on Monday and honestly, the afternoon was very, very hot.

“We confirmed that the way we took at the Cremona test and then the way we followed that at the Misano test and then the Misano round was correct.

“We didn’t have many big things to try but more about the base setting: fork settings, bike balance and electronics. We didn’t do many laps but the ones we did were positive.

“There was good data for Japan to analyse and take the next steps. We kept a good race pace with the track conditions and our fastest lap time was like a Superpole time but in a race run. Let’s see what happens at Donington Park.”

The positive outing in Barcelona comes after a two-day test in Cremona, where Lecuona admitted he can ride the CBR1000RR-R at the limit.

Lecuona added: “Cremona’s first test was important; we went after Misano and we confirmed the direction was right.

“We improved pace, one-lap speed and honestly, got a lot of confidence with the bike. Now, I’ve started to feel comfortable on the bike and save a lot of crashes but more than that, I can be on the limit more.

“The window we have right now is bigger than before. That has helped myself to take confidence.

“I’m really well physically; at Misano, I expected to struggle more but I finished quite well; at Cremona’s test, I did long runs and it was good, not 100% ready with the shoulder but good.”

Lecuona’s thoughts were shared by Vierge, who ‘felt competitive’ but was weary of being confused after suffering ‘completely different feelings’.

Xavi Vierge
Xavi Vierge

Vierge stated: “We had a positive test and the team did a really good job and made a good decision to test one day later, even if we had some slower riders sharing the track with us.

“We need the dry track time to test items and find the way to follow. For this part, it was positive and I felt competitive; I improved my lap times with the race tyre quite a lot but still, at some points in the day, we got completely different feelings without touching the bike too much.

“This is something we need to understand but it's also easy to have confusion.

“In the position we are in now, we had some positives and negatives and the worst thing that can happen is that you don’t understand what is going on.

“Luckily, I have an incredible team and my job is finished but they have a lot of work to do, analysing the data and find answers to our questions.”

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