Hard-earned points for Team HRC at Donington

Round five of the 2022 Superbike World Championship has now drawn to a close at the British track of 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.

Iker Lecuona "This morning in warmup I felt good on used tyres so I knew we had the potential to fight for a top five finish. In the Superpole race, my start wasn’t exactly the best and then I lost time in a lengthy battle with Loca. By the time I finally overtook him, a gap had opened between me and the guys ahead. I finished seventh, not a bad result all things considered, and still good for race 2 grid. I was also able to manage my arm pump issue over the short race distance. Unfortunately, the same couldn’t be said of Race 2 when I struggled a lot physically speaking. A lack of energy and pain in my right arm made the situation quite difficult to manage. I felt a first drop in my physical performance already after five laps. So race 2 was tough, but we managed to finish top ten anyway, which isn’t bad considering we are having a consistent season but at the same time it’s frustrating because the result doesn’t reflect the potential of the bike here. P10 would be not our position today if I had not had that issue. A big thanks to the team anyway, as they do not only work very hard but support me regarding every aspect of the weekend. Leon (Camier) arranged to have a physiotherapist here to try and help me with my arm, so thanks to everyone on the team and now let’s rest up ahead of the next round."

Xavi Vierge "This weekend has been tough for us, more so than we expected. We weren’t exactly envisaging an easy weekend, considering I’m returning after injury, surgery and a four-week break, and that this is a totally new track, but we were hoping for more, honestly. If we focus on the positives as we always try to do, we can say that we’ve been able to improve a lot over the course of the weekend and in the final race today we closed the gap to the front compared to where we were at the beginning. We don’t expect to be fighting for these positions, but it is what it is and at least we collected a lot of information while getting the maximum from this weekend. Thanks to the team for all their efforts, and now let’s look ahead to the next one."

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