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Jamie Klein

Honda "really impressed" by WSBK rookies Lecuona and Vierge

After losing the services of Alvaro Bautista to Ducati, Honda caused a stir last year when it elected to jettison the experienced Leon Haslam in favour of KTM MotoGP refugee Lecuona and Moto2 graduate Vierge.

The two Spanish youngsters sampled the Honda CBR1000RR-R in last year's post-season test at Jerez, and accumulated further mileage on Wednesday at the same track in their first running of 2022.

Vierge logged the second-fastest time of the day, a 1m40.342s, falling just 0.026s shy of Kawasaki pacesetter Alex Lowes, while Lecuona was just behind on a 1m40.496s. Kawasaki's six-time champion Jonathan Rea sat out the day's action to preserve his test allocation.

Camier said that while it remains early days for Honda's novice pairing, the signs so far have been encouraging.

“My first impression of both riders has been very, very positive," Camier told the official WSBK website. "Both are quite different riders in their approach to everything, but both are super-fast straight away.

"Iker has obviously come from MotoGP and he understands the electronics and how to set up a bike with electronics, what he’s looking for. Xavi doesn’t have experience with this but his adaptation to the bike and understanding what he wants is super impressive.

"There’s a lot for them to learn. They need to understand a lot more about the bike and need some time to understand how to get the most out of it. So far, I’m really impressed.”


Honda spent the Jerez test evaluating a number of new items on the CBR1000RR-R, including a switch to Showa suspension - as used by Kawasaki - and Nissin brakes, moving away from Ohlins and Brembo.

However, it was decided to wrap up the test a day early and preserve one of each riders' 10 permitted test days for a later date.

"We got through all of the main items we wanted to test [on Wednesday] and also for Iker to test his hand [after fracturing a finger in a crash at Jerez in December]," clarified Camier. "Everything was good, no problem.

"With Xavi, we got the main things done and a lot of good feedback and information for the Japanese technicians. We were working a little bit everywhere, but electronics was one of the main things we understood.

"This is good, it gives us a good direction for the next test and for the rest of the year. We will have at least another five days on track before we start the season.

"We’re looking to clarify some options which will come a bit later on in the next test. After this, we should have confirmation about the bike that will be, and the riders will have more time on the bike to adjust and to understand everything.”

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