Round five of 2022 WorldSBK has now drawn to a close at Donington Park, bringing more important championship points for Team HRC and riders Iker Lecuona and Xavi Vierge, the former battling through pain and the latter facing a variety of challenges as they completed the day’s races.
In today’s brief ten-lap Superpole race, the pair was lying eighth (Lecuona) and thirteenth (Vierge) at the end of the opening lap. Lecuona passed Locatelli after a lengthy battle for seventh while Vierge also made up one place. While Lecuona held firm, Vierge lost ground after another rider made contact and caused him to run briefly off track before rejoining in sixteenth place. Xavi nevertheless continued to fight throughout the second half of the short sprint to cross the line a valiant fifteenth, behind team-mate Iker, who ran a consistent race to cross the line seventh.
Lecuona retained his spot on the third row of the grid for Race2, while Vierge moved up to the fifth row, thanks to a revision of the starting grid by race direction. Lights went out on the second and final Superbike race at 2pm and Lecuona and Vierge placed eighth and eleventh after the first of 23 laps. With both feeling less than 100%, it was only a matter of time before they began to struggle. Lacking in energy and in pain with his right arm, Lecuona lost contact with the group immediately ahead of him but did his best to hold off the chasing riders, while Vierge ran a fairly solitary second half of the race. The Team HRC pair did well to reach the finish line and score points, Lecuona securing another top ten and Vierge closing thirteenth.
Five rounds into the 2022 season and Lecuona places sixth in the championship standings with 116 points, Vierge tenth with 69 points. The next round of the WorldSBK championship will run at the Most Circuit in the Czech Republic on 29-31 July.