Round seven of the Superbike World Championship has, at different moments, shown some light for Team HRC and riders Xavi Vierge and Iker Lecuona, despite the many challenges posed by a tough weekend.
Round seven of the Superbike World Championship has, at different moments, shown some light for Team HRC and riders Xavi Vierge and Iker Lecuona, despite the many challenges posed by a tough weekend. The former was able to put together a strong race yesterday, progressing from last on the grid to twelfth across the line, and the latter was able to recover pace and speed today to charge from seventeenth to top ten in today’s race 2. Not the results the team is aiming for, but evidence of the hard work, attitude and fighting spirit of both riders and the team.
The ten-lap Superpole sprint race got off to a good start for factory rider Vierge. Into tenth on lap one, the Spaniard worked fast to find a rhythm that would allow him to fend off the advances of those immediately behind. Battling for the top ten through the first half of the race, Xavi ran off track while pushing on lap six and slipped back to twentieth as a result. With time against him, Vierge was only able to do so much in the final laps, concluding the race in nineteenth place. At a disadvantage from seventeenth on the grid, Lecuona was lying sixteenth through the first turns. Making up one position early on, Iker found himself part of a small group of three riders through the second half of this short sprint. Pushing to pass his closest rivals in the final stages, Lecuona was able to move ahead of Aegerter to cross the line thirteenth.
The final Superbike race of the weekend was reduced from nineteen to fifteen laps due to the high temperatures. The lights went out at 2pm local time on a track that had reached 60°C. Eleventh and fourteenth respectively through the opening stages, Vierge and Lecuona lapped with similar times to each other, with Xavi holding his position for the best part of the race while Iker gradually moved up behind his team-mate to position twelfth. With three laps to go, and with quicker pace than his closer rivals, Iker moved ahead of Xavi. Lecuona pushed to finish inside the top ten, crossing the line a worthy tenth, while Vierge slipped a little further back on the final lap after a small contact with another rider, to close fourteenth.
With more than half the 2023 championship now behind them, Lecuona and Vierge currently place tenth and thirteenth respectively in the championship standings, with 98 and 72 points. Team HRC now turns its attentions to the next WorldSBK, scheduled to take place at the Most circuit in the Czech Republic over the weekend of 28-30 July.