Despite having no WorldSBK wins since the late Nicky Hayden achieved that feat at Laguna Seca (2016), Honda Team Manager, Leon Camier, wants to see wins from series rookies Iker Lecuona and Xavi Vierge as early as 2022. 

Following a 2019 season in which Honda competed as an independent outfit, the Japanese manufacturer returned to WorldSBK as a full-factory team in 2020, however, Team HRC has claimed just three podiums in 61 races. 

That includes having Alvaro Bautista in their line-up as the Spaniard left Ducati after winning 16 races in his rookie 2019 season. 

Bautista, who has returned to Ducati for the 2022 season - replaces the departing Scott Redding (BMW), has been replaced by ex-MotoGP rider Iker Lecuona, while former Moto2 rider Xavi Vierge has also joined the team instead of Leon Haslam. 

Along with wanting to see immediate results from both riders who have already tested their new machinery in Jerez, Camier said the decision to go with two young riders was about adding ‘fresh blood’ to the team. 

"The change for 2022 with two young riders is predominately about having some fresh blood. It's easier for younger riders to adapt to a new package, having no experience in this class before," Camier told the official World Superbike website. 

"We think that we have good technicians and a good base around us that we can provide a bike and package that is competitive. 

"The main reason is we believe in their potential and that they can adapt to our bike easier than having an older rider try to change it into something else. 

"I would like to see them start in a calm way, build up and then start to achieve podiums step by step. 

"We would like to see them win races, that will be the plan, but also, we understand this is many new circuits, many new situations for them, so it will take time for them to learn, it will take time for them to understand. 

"Of course, we understand that it's a big task for them to be competitive straight away. So, I would like to see a good progression throughout the year."