Satisfaction and regret for Team HRC men Lecuona and Vierge in race 1 at Most2022-08-02 03:32
The Most circuit in the Czech Republic is hosting round six of the 2022 Superbike World Championship, today’s mixed weather conditions making things more challenging for the WorldSBK riders who competed in both qualifying and the first race of the weekend.
The morning’s final free practice ran in wet conditions, which naturally prevented all riders from improving on their best times of yesterday. Having been passed fit to ride following a heavy crash in yesterday’s FP2, Lecuona completed seven laps on the wet asphalt to have a better understanding of his own physical condition and of his bike’s behaviour in these altered conditions. Vierge, keen to make as many laps of this new track as possible, also completed seven laps, the two Spaniards placing third and eleventh respectively in this session.
The track was dry again by 11.10 am local time as the Superpole got underway. The 15-minute phase therefore proved to be as hard-fought as ever, the entire field battling it out to secure the best possible grid positions for the weekend’s first races. Lecuona and Vierge were no exception, though both struggled to complete a totally clean lap. The factory duo rounded out the session in twelfth (1’32.359) and thirteenth place (1’32.367), meaning a fourth- and fifth-row start for the afternoon’s first race.
The weekend’s first full length Superbike race got underway as scheduled at 2pm local time in cloudy conditions. Lecuona got away well to place eleventh through the first turns, while team-mate Vierge lost a lot of ground in traffic, dropping back to twentieth off the line when another rider hit him. Xavi was quick to react, gaining five positions over the first three laps, while Lecuona’s strong pace allowed to him move in on, and pass, Baz on lap nine to place ninth. Having reached fifteenth in the early stages, Vierge struggled to maintain a strong pace and was therefore unable to gain further ground. By around lap ten, drops of rain began to fall in various sectors, causing the lap times of all riders to rise somewhat. Lecuona, comfortable and very fast in the tricky conditions, was able to pick up the pace again, lapping quicker than those immediately ahead of him and even slightly quicker than his own qualifying pace. Gaining one more position on the very last lap, the Spaniard crossed the line eighth, while team-mate Vierge finished fifteenth, just inside the points zone.
Team HRC will return to the track tomorrow for the 10-lap Superpole race followed, in the afternoon, by the second 22-lap Superbike race.
Iker Lecuona 7
“All in all, today wasn’t at all bad to be honest. After crashing in FP2 yesterday, I had a tough night as I was in quite a lot of pain and didn’t sleep much. I want to thank the doctors for their help in dealing with that. I was declared fit for action this morning, and so was back on my bike for FP3. Conditions were mixed but allowed me to understand if I was feeling physically OK or not. Things went well but the same can’t be said of the qualifying session sadly. I didn’t have good feeling with the bike and finished the session pretty angry with anyone and everyone, myself including, because twelfth place and 1.4” off the pace is too much for us. Then in the race we moved back into positive territory, with a solid performance. The start wasn’t bad, but it was a bit hectic, with some riders hitting me in the leg, but I maintained my focus and just tried to do my best. I have to say that our pace was good, especially in the second half of the race. I actually set my fastest time on the seventeenth lap, quicker than my qualifying effort in fact, and I was able to finish P8, very close to Rinaldi. So, my thanks to the team and everyone around me who believes in me and supported me after my crash yesterday. I’m happy with today and now we’ll see what we can do tomorrow.”
Xavi Vierge 97
“I’m really disappointed with today’s race because I was expecting to feel better and be fighting for a better result. At the start some other riders hit me and I had to cut the first chicane, which was a problem of course, but after a few laps, once I’d passed a few riders and finally had a free track on which to try and close the gap, the pace just wasn’t there, and I couldn’t ride comfortably. We need to understand why I no longer have the confidence to go faster, because I had a similar feeling at Donington too. It’s true that I’ve missed a few tests due to my hand injury and that has probably caused us to lose our way a little. We will try to make the most of the chance to race at this track again tomorrow, making some big changes to try and understand which way to go and regain the good feeling we had a couple of races ago. Thanks as always to the team as they continue to work hard and support me in every way.”
Pos. Rider Num Nation Team Time/Gap
1 Rea Jonathan 65 GBR Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK 1'30.947
2 Razgatlioglu Toprak 1 TUR PATA YAMAHA with BRIXX WorldSBK 1'31.277 0.330
3 Rinaldi Michael Ruben 21 ITA ARUBA Racing - Ducati 1'31.506 0.559
4 Bautista Alvaro 19 SPA ARUBA Racing - Ducati 1'31.567 0.620
5 Lowes Alex 22 GBR Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK 1'31.622 0.675
6 Gerloff Garrett 31 USA GRT Yamaha WorldSBK 1'31.627 0.680
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