Lecuona: Honda improved a lot, MotoGP bike looks completely different

Although his focus is purely on WorldSBK, Iker Lecuona believes Honda have made significant improvements in MotoGP after Pol Espargaro topped the Mandalika test.
Repsol Honda bike, MotoGP, Indonesian MotoGP test, 11 February 2022
Repsol Honda bike, MotoGP, Indonesian MotoGP test, 11 February 2022
© Gold and Goose

Iker Lecuona believes he’s on course to be ready for the 2022 WorldSBK season opener in Aragon, while also acknowledging the apparent steps forward Honda has made in MotoGP. 

As the WorldSBK rookie gets ready for his first season with Team HRC, Lecuona has confirmed the team has scheduled two more pre-season tests, one of which will be the official Dorna supported test on April 4-5. 

After missing time during his first WorldSBK test (December) due to a crash in Jerez, along with just one day of action during last month’s second Jerez outing, Lecuona remains upbeat that he will be ‘ready’ for the new season come April. 

“It’s difficult to say. I think so, honestly. The last test we improved a lot and I learned a lot about the bike, the tyres and in general all the new parts,” said Lecuona. 

“It’s true that we have two tests (left) and we need to continue to work on the bike as well as myself. 

“Like Leon [Camier] said, everything is new and we need to adapt quickly. But if we keep the same way then I think we’ll be ready for the first race. 

After competing with Tech 3 KTM in MotoGP over the last two years, Lecuona is currently in the process of learning a new bike, new tyres and new electronics just to name a few.

So given the challenges facing Lecuona and also rookie team-mate Xavi Vierge, plus Honda being the outfit that needs to improve the most based on last year’s results, the next couple of tests will be crucial to both Lecuona and Team HRC.

While WorldSBK testing is in full flow, MotoGP testing has come to a close with Honda finishing fastest in Mandalika last weekend. 

With the Japanese manufacturer seemingly making huge improvements compared to last season, Lecuona was asked about it during the Team HRC virtual presentation and whether he thinks similar results with Honda can take place in WorldSBK. 

Keeping his cards close to his chest, Lecuona added: "If I'm honest I didn’t check the test a lot. I’ve been working on myself and I didn’t check anything. I saw a little bit of the results because I follow a lot of riders. 

"What I know is that Honda has improved a lot this winter, the (MotoGP) bike looks completely different, but I don’t follow it a lot because I’m focused on WorldSBK and I’m trying to learn a lot."

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