Leon Camier, Team Manager at Team HRC, has called the signings of promising WorldSBK rookies Iker Lecuona and Xavi Vierge an ‘investment for the future’, after moving away from the experience of Alvaro Bautista and Leon Haslam. 

With Lecuona (MotoGP) and Vierge (Moto2) coming across from grand prix racing, it means Team HRC have gone in a completely different direction to their first two seasons as a full factory outfit.

With Bautista and newly-announced BSB rider Haslam occupying both Honda seats over the last two seasons, the switch to Lecuona and Vierge is somewhat of a risk as both riders are completely new to Superbike machinery.

However, with both riders already looking fast in pre-season testing, Camier believes Honda’s ‘investment for the future’ with Lecuona and Vierge is a move that has a lot of potential to drive the Japanese manufacturer’s project forward.

"From a performance point of view, in the first test I was super impressed with both riders to be honest," said Camier. "The speed straight away was really impressive. Not only that, but considering how young they are and compared to the experience of the riders we had before; they’re feedback was very impressive. 

"This is something very important for us moving forward as we develop a new project. This is something that’s very sought after basically. 

"They have to have the speed for one, and they have to give correct feedback for the development of the bike. Of course, before we started this project we tried to do as much homework on both riders as we can, but until they get to the first test and sit on the bike, until they ride, you never quite know how it’s going to go. First impressions were really good."

Although Lecuona and Vierge will need time, both to adapt to WorldSBK and their new CBR1000RR-R FIREBLADE, Camier says the team is fully aware and understands what’s ahead for the two Spaniards. 

Camier continued: "We know that it will take time, there’s many things to learn in this championship - new bikes, new tyres, new situations, new conditions, new circuits, there’s a lot to learn for them and we understand this. 

"We’re not expecting them to be up to speed straight away. This is something we’re all expecting. It’s an investment for the future and something we’re looking to keep progressing."