Vierge focuses on race pace at Mandalika, Lecuona bounces back after a crash in FP1

2023-03-08 09:20
Team HRC is on track at the Mandalika International Street Circuit in Indonesia for round two of the 2023 Superbike World Championship, which comes just a week after the season-opener in Australia.

The action got underway at 10am local time (CET+7) with the first free practice session. Xavi Vierge made excellent progress throughout the course of the 45-minute practice, working systematically on the setup of his CBR1000RR-R together with his team. His fastest time, a 1’34.838, came in the final minutes and was enough to see him place a very strong fifth. Lecuona meanwhile had a less than fortunate start, crashing at turn 16 in the opening stages, which meant that he subsequently lost the rest of FP1.

Despite the hotter conditions (air temp. 33°C, track temp. 52°C), lap times were quicker across the Superbike field in the afternoon’s second practice. Having already set a very fast time in FP1 and demonstrating a consistently fast pace, Vierge was nevertheless able to shave off another second, setting a 1’33.793 that saw him move up to eleventh in the day’s combined standings. Lecuona worked to build confidence at a track he has little to no experience of, having been forced to sit out last year’s event due to injury. A best of 1’34.452 for Iker, set in the final stages, meant a seventeenth-place finish in Friday’s aggregate results.

Xavi Vierge 97

“I’m happy with how today has gone, not least because I’ve got back that good feeling with my bike. We worked really well today and focused mainly on race pace, trying to find the speed that we were lacking to some extent in Australia. I think we did that and have done a good job today. Our pace is quite strong and the changes we made to the bike throughout the day’s sessions gave me the confidence to be able to push and improve. I want to say a big thank you to the team as they have worked really hard, just as they did in Australia, to solve the issue we had, and this meant that our confidence levels were better right from the start of this morning’s first practice. It’s a real pleasure to be back here at Mandalika, and the track conditions are better than they were last year, which is good, so we will keep working to improve our lap times and get ready for tomorrow’s Superpole and first race.”

Xavi Vierge

Iker Lecuona 7

“Soon into FP1, I had a highside through turn 16, similar to my crash of last year but fortunately I wasn’t seriously injured this time, just a few aches and pains. This knocked my confidence to be honest, as we had started quite calmly and I didn’t expect a crash during my first exit, and so I then used FP2 to try to get back into the right mental space to be able to ride. A big thanks to the team for all their hard work in repairing the bike in time for the second session, and to Leon (Camier) and Kuwata san and everyone in the team who supported me and didn’t put any pressure on me and tried to give me good energy. In FP2 we did our best to work methodically and take things step by step, focusing on improving our feeling and we did that a bit, but a lack of grip at the rear meant I actually went down again through turn 10. So not an easy start to the weekend and a tough moment for me mentally speaking, particularly considering what happened here last year. I’m also a little depleted physically after suffering with some gastrointestinal problems over the last couple of days. Anyway, now we need to check the data and understand what happened and what can we do to move forward tomorrow.”

Iker Lecuona

Free Practices Combined Results after FP2
Pos. Rider Num Nation Team Time/Gap
1 Rinaldi Michael Ruben 21 ITA ARUBA Racing - Ducati 1'32.468
2 Gardner Remy 87 AUS GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team 1'32.497 0.029
3 Razgatlioglu Toprak 54 TUR PATA YAMAHA with BRIXX WorldSBK 1'32.625 0.157
4 Rea Jonathan 65 GBR Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK 1'33.203 0.735
5 van der Mark Michael 60 NDL ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team 1'33.213 0.745
6 Gardner Remy 87 AUS GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team 1'33.374 0.906

Source: HRC

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