Team HRC is currently competing in round seven of the Superbike World Championship at the Magny-Cours circuit in France with factory riders Iker Lecuona and Xavi Vierge.
The final 30-minute practice and 15-minute Superpole ran on a dry track this morning, after yesterday’s preparation was carried out in full wet conditions.
And so it was that the two rookies, with less than an hour of dry track experience to their name, headed into their first ever race at the French circuit, bravely demonstrating their speed and competitiveness. Both were able to match the pace of the leaders during the first half of the race, before being forced to slow their rhythm somewhat in the final stages.
Earlier in the day, Team HRC made the best of the brief 30-minute final practice, working hard to prepare its CBR1000RR-R bikes for the Superpole and an eventual dry race. Lecuona set a 1’36.892, just seven tenths from pole position, and Vierge recorded a 1’37.280, which meant they qualified thirteenth and fourteenth respectively in what was a very close-fought Superpole session.
The weekend’s first 21-lap race got underway in dry conditions at 2pm local time. Lecuona moved into twelfth on lap two, before crashes for two of the leading riders saw the Team HRC duo move into ninth and eleventh place. As the race progressed, both factory riders were able to find a very fast rhythm, lapping with similar times to the race leaders and reaching sixth (Iker) and eighth (Xavi) by the mid-race point. Neither was able to maintain their earlier pace in the latter stages, meaning that Lecuona ultimately crossed the line ninth and team-mate Vierge thirteenth. The factory duo has nevertheless learned a lot from today’s experience and is ready to harness that tomorrow to fight for a much better outcome.