10/26/2021 | News release | Distributed by Public on 10/26/2021 02:22
The Spanish duo will both step across from the MotoGP™ paddock to form a brand-new line-up for the factory Honda outfit
Team HRC have become the latest, and last, MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship factory team to confirm their 2022 line-up with Iker Lecuona and Xavi Vierge moving across from MotoGP™ and Moto2™ respectively. The all-Spanish, all-rookie line-up will bring a new look for the iconic Japanese manufacturer with both riders confirmed for 2022, with Alvaro Bautista switching back to Ducati in WorldSBK for 2022, whilst Leon Haslam's future is yet to be confirmed.
21-year-old Lecuona moves across to WorldSBK after two full seasons competing in MotoGP™ where he has, so far, claimed a best result of sixth place which came at the 2021 Austrian Grand Prix. The Valencia-born rider has been able to fight for a place in the top ten on many occasions in his second MotoGP™ campaign and will now look to take another step forward as he makes his debut in WorldSBK.
Prior to his two campaigns in MotoGP™, he spent three full seasons in Moto2™, after making his debut midway through the 2016 season at 16 years old, and showed progress with every campaign, racking up two podiums and a best result of second in the 2018 Valencian Community Grand Prix. He remained in Moto2™ for the 2019 season, claiming a podium in Thailand and also made his MotoGP™ debut in the same year at the season-ending Valencian Community Grand Prix. Before his Moto2™ career, Lecuona competed in the FIM CEV Moto2™ Championship where he also impressed with top-five finishes, showing the potential to win races on occasion although never fulfilling it before he graduated.
Lecuona will be joined by Moto2™ competitor and Spanish compatriot Xavi Vierge, who joins WorldSBK after seven seasons in the intermediate class, claiming four podiums and three pole positions. Born in Barcelona, his last podium coming in the 2021 Catalan Grand Prix with third place. His Moto2™ debut came mid-way through the 2015 campaign before a full-time switch in 2016, where he's remained since. Vierge's best season in terms of points scored and podiums came in 2018, where he scored 131 and took two podiums to finish 11th overall.
Before his switch to Moto2™, Vierge spent two seasons competing in the FIM CEV Moto3™ European Championship, back in 2012 and 2013, with a best result of fifth in his debut season at Albacete. He moved up to the FIM CEV Moto2™ European Championship for 2014 and 2015 where Vierge was able to impress most, claiming 15 podiums in his 21 races across two seasons and only finishing the race off a podium twice. In 2015, he won six races out of 11 to finish second in the Championship to Edgar Pons by 11 points it, whilst also battling with 2021 WorldSSP race winner Steven Odendaal.
Team HRC team manager Leon Camier spoke of the hard work and dedication of Leon Haslam over the last two years, thanking him for his time in the team: "Over the time spent working together, we have had the opportunity to appreciate Leon as both a rider and as a person. We want to thank him for his hard work, dedication and full commitment to our project and the team. It has been a pleasure to work with him, and we wish him all the best for the future."
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