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.
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.