Race 1
WorldSBK 2022
Round 5

Grit and determination carry the two Team HRC rookies to the line at a physical Donington

gb Donington Park Circuit

Team HRC has completed the first of the weekend’s Superbike races at the Donington Park circuit in the UK, but the day was not without its challenges, rider Iker Lecuona ultimately crossing the line in eighth place, and team-mate Xavi Vierge thirteenth.

Grit and determination carry the two Team HRC rookies to the line at a physical Donington

The team made final preparations for the Superpole during the morning’s final practice session. Vierge suffered a small crash but was immediately able to continue with the day’s action. Then came the Superpole, which ran in dry, sunny conditions at 11.10am local time. The short qualifying session turned into a real battle for grid positions in the final minutes. Lecuona was able to set a competitive time, a 1’27.038 with which he placed seventh at the end of the 15-minute phase. Vierge improved significantly on his best practice time to record a 1’27.861, with which he finished sixteenth. The Team HRC duo therefore secured places on the third and sixth row of the grid respectively for the first of the weekend’s races.

The first 23-lap Superbike race got underway on a dry track at 2pm. Lecuona got away well from seventh on the grid and was lying sixth through the first turns. A particularly ‘busy’ first lap gave him the opportunity to move briefly into fourth, although he soon found himself battling an invisible enemy, or rather ‘arm pump’, a problem that has been bothering him all weekend at this physically demanding track. Seventh at the mid-race point, Iker fought hard to regain ground but ultimately crossed the line in eighth position, unable to fend off a final attack from Garrett Gerloff on the very last lap. Satisfied with the work done on his bike, Iker hopes that some rest this evening will allow him to feel better for tomorrow’s double-race appointment. Vierge positioned fifteenth early on, a position he held for the best part of the race in fact, before battling it out against British riders in the final phase to secure final thirteenth place.

Iker Lecuona
Iker Lecuona 7
Team HRC
“A day of two sides - I’m quite happy and want to say thanks to the team for the great work they’ve done on the bike following an issue we had yesterday. We resolved that and found a good setup for the bike which allowed me to set a competitive time in qualifying despite a small mistake on my flying lap and find good race pace. I started the race quite well from the clean side of the track and was able to run top five in the first laps. Unfortunately, though, I’m really suffering with arm pump in my right arm this weekend, so strong that I was not sure I could even finish the race. After ten laps I realised I just had to manage the situation and try to reach the line. I almost made it to seventh, but Gerloff overtook me on the very last lap. I couldn’t fend him off, but I think we can be happy with the work we are doing as a team.”

Xavi Vierge
Xavi Vierge 97
Team HRC
“We made some progress in qualifying but not enough and starting from the sixth row made for a difficult race, right from the outset. Anyway, I fought hard every single lap to obtain the best possible result and gain as much experience as possible for tomorrow. We know where we need to focus in order to find some more rear grip and be able to fight with the others. We will work towards this target this afternoon and, as always, I want to thank the team for their hard work. After running a full race, I’m pleased to say that I’m feeling OK with my hand after the injury and this is positive.”

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