Strong and fruitful test in Catalunya for Team HRC; just bruises for Lecuona after a crash
Team HRC has been at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Spain this week, completing another two-day testing session on Thursday 30 and Friday 31 March, which follows on from the tests completed just last week at Motorland Aragón.
As the squad continues to prepare for the first European round of the 2023 Superbike World Championship, set to take place at Assen in The Netherlands on 21-23 April, riders Iker Lecuona and Xavi Vierge made the most of these Spanish sessions, which fortunately played out in warm and sunny conditions.
During this test, the team essentially picked up from where it had left off at Aragón last week. Lecuona and Vierge continued to assess the potential of several items including a new exhaust, while also testing some different Pirelli tyres and making adjustments to their electronics packages together with their technicians. This, in order to confirm the Aragón findings and really understand bike behaviour at a different circuit, particularly considering that Team HRC will be back at the Barcelona-Catalunya track for a WorldSBK round already in May.
Vierge left the track at the end of two very busy days, satisfied to have confirmed the same good feeling on his bike in terms of pure race pace. On day 2 Lecuona was improving further on his pace when a high-side at turn 14, which occurred at around 11.30am, put a premature end to his work on track. A precautionary check-up at the Hospital Universitari General de Catalunya ruled out any serious injury and the young rider was able to re-join his team at the track in time for a final technical debrief before heading home for a few weeks of rest before the April round at Assen.
Iker Lecuona 7
“I’m very happy for several reasons, starting with the very thing that put an early end to a very positive test, funnily enough. I was so lucky to come away from a high-side with only a black eye and some bruises but nothing broken. I lost the front at corner 14, over a bump, I think. I wasn’t doing anything “crazy” but it’s true I was on a qualifying tyre and so was riding fast. The bike hit my right foot in the gravel, and a stone hit my eye after I lost my visor. Anyway, the tests at the hospital were all OK and I feel fine, and basically no pain. As for the test, I’m very pleased because after trying some new items and settings at Aragón last week, we’ve been able to complete back-to-back tests here at Catalunya, a very different track to Motorland and also more challenging in terms of tyre drop-off. We’ve worked well and have had confirmation that we’ve really taken a step forward. I lapped alone basically the whole time and our race pace was good, better than last year, my fastest lap quicker than my pole position time. This is only testing of course, and conditions have been different too, ideal conditions basically, but the feeling has been very good and I’ve felt comfortable on the bike. And this is the most important thing. We basically repeated most of the tests we did last week, including work with the bike geometries and exhaust, and focused a bit more on electronics where we know we have margin for improvement. We also completed some long runs, and lap times were again fast and consistent. Big thanks to the team and everyone at Honda because they are doing a very good job.”
Xavi Vierge 97
“It has again been a very productive test, apart from one thing we must keep working on, which is making the most of the new, soft tyre over the flying lap. We tried a lot of things and collected a large amount of data that we can now analyse to achieve this. That aside, we’re very happy because we’ve shown strong race pace which is ultimately the most important thing. We arrived here after another positive two-day session in Aragón and so were able to complete some useful back-to-back tests. We’re generally trying to improve the base setup of the bike, not specifically for the Montmelo track but in general. The feeling’s good and this is very important especially here at Barcelona where tyre management is crucial. We improved on our best race time set here, and on used tyres, so I’m quite happy with that. Thanks as always to the team for their hard work and now let’s focus on Assen after taking a few days off.”
Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya Carrer Mas Moreneta, 08160 Montmeló, Barcelona, Spain Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya
|Pole Record||1'40.264 (167,211 Km/h) A. Bautista (Ducati V4 R, 2023)|
|Race Record||1'41.135 (165,771 Km/h) A. Bautista (Ducati V4 R, 2022, SPRC)|
|All Time Record||1'40.264 (167,211 Km/h) A. Bautista (Ducati V4 R, 2023)|
|2023 Race 1 Winner||A. Bautista (Ducati V4 R)|
|2023 Superpole Winner||A. Bautista (Ducati V4 R)|
|2023 Race 2 Winner||A. Bautista (Ducati V4 R)|