With the WorldSBK racing now underway at the Assen TT Circuit, Team HRC and factory rider Xavi Vierge finished eleventh today after a contact by another rider forced the Spaniard off track during this afternoon’s first 21-lap Superbike race
With the WorldSBK racing now underway at the Assen TT Circuit, Team HRC and factory rider Xavi Vierge finished eleventh today after a contact by another rider forced the Spaniard off track during this afternoon’s first 21-lap Superbike race, while Iker Lecuona unfortunately suffered a crash while lying eighth and pushing hard to close the gap with the group fighting for the top five.
The riders faced a wet third free practice but nevertheless put it to good use, testing wet setups so as to be prepared for any rain during races. This final practice was followed by Superpole, which played out on a dry track. During the frantic 15-minute session, in which the top sixteen closed within just one second of each other, Lecuona was immediately able to set a 1’34.607, before pitting to put in the qualifying tyre. Improving on his initial time by half a second, a best of 1’34.199 saw Iker qualify in tenth, which became ninth after a penalty moved Axel Bassani three positions down the grid. Team-mate Vierge set an initial time of 1’34.513 before he too came into the pits to change his tyre. Straight back out, the Spaniard shaved a further three tenths off his time to qualify twelfth with a 1’34.260, just under one tenth from his teammate.
The first of the weekend’s races ran in the early afternoon in dry conditions, with the Team HRC duo lining up on the third and fourth row of the grid. While Xavi made immediately up three positions during lap one to place ninth, team-mate Iker lost ground off the line but fought back through the first corners and was lying fourteenth by the end of the first lap. On lap four a contact between Vierge and another rider forced him to run wide and consequently fall back to thirteenth, while Lecuona simultaneously moved up into eighth. Unfortunately, on the very next lap a crash for Iker ruled him out of the action. Eleventh on lap eight, Vierge ran a consistent second half, lapping with similar pace to those ahead and holding his position all the way to the line to score five championship points. Not the outcome that the Team HRC riders were looking for today, but both are highly motivated to fight back in tomorrow’s races.