More than four weeks after the conclusion of the third round of the Superbike World Championship in The Netherlands, Team HRC has returned to the track for two days of testing at the Cremona Circuit in Italy, a track that features on the Superbike calendar for the first time this season.

The extended break has been of benefit to Iker Lecuona, who suffered a crash in the final minutes of the FP3 session at Assen and sustained a contusion to his right knee that rendered him unfit for the rest of that weekend. Now recovered, he rejoins teammate Xavi Vierge, who has trained hard during recent weeks to maintain peak fitness, ready to return to action.

On Thursday and in very variable conditions that brought sun in the morning and heavy rain just after the lunch break, the HRC riders opted to utilize only half a day, which was enough to allow both to discover and learn the new track and begin working on a suitable setup for their respective bikes.

Day two was characterized by more stable weather, allowing the team to complete extensive setup work on Xavi and Iker’s bikes, compare very different setups, and collect a considerable amount of data, feedback, and perspective.

HRC is fully committed to harnessing the potential of the CBR1000RR-R, with Team HRC scheduled to conduct a further two days of testing at the Misano World Circuit in Italy on May 30-31.

Iker Lecuona 7

“I’m happy. I needed to make laps on the bike after basically missing half of the action since the start of the championship and having to stop proper training for long periods of time. On this track, which has many left corners and many changes of direction, I struggled a bit with my left shoulder, which I injured in Australia, and the knee I hit in Barcelona is still not 100% on the bike either. But all in all, I felt better than I expected here. It’s a very small track, and I can't say I like it or dislike it really. Let’s say I like some parts a lot, like the straight, and other sections less so. All in all, it’s fun and very physical too. Out of corner three, you cannot see corner four, so you need to learn the right references. That sector’s not easy. Corner thirteen, I think, is one of the best because the camber makes the bike basically turn by itself. During the first half day we started the tests with the setup from the last race in Assen and then made changes step by step that helped me to feel more and more comfortable. On the second day we did much more and made some bigger setup changes, especially on the electronics side but also across all areas of setup. Overall, I can say this was the most productive test of the season so far, winter testing included. I feel there’s chance for real improvement so let’s wait and see if the work we did here—a lot of work, honestly—will come to fruition.”

Xavi Vierge 97

“Cremona is a unique track; it’s fun actually. I enjoyed it because it has a bit of everything, including a super long straight and some cambered corners. I think it's quite nice, and the grip level is good enough. We’ve completed almost a day and a half of testing here, with the first half basically dedicated to understanding the track and seeing how the bike reacts. Our bike is really fast from the half straight to the end and I feel very confident in a couple of strong braking areas. Through other sections, as always, we struggle to fully exploit the bike’s power. Having said that, I think this testing session was one of our best tests so far, not so much for the performance because we didn’t just focus on trying a setup for this track specifically, but on making comparison tests between very different setups that will be very useful for the next step of our bike’s development. I’m very happy with the work we’ve done here.”

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