Team HRC has affirmed its goals for the 2024 WorldSBK campaign after confirming Iker Lecuona and Xavi Vierge.
Iker Lecuona and Xavi Vierge have signed a contract extension with the factory Honda squad, allowing them to continue racing for Team HRC in the WorldSBK Championship for a further two seasons.
The Factory Honda riders joined the WorldSBK in 2022 with Lecuona switching from MotoGP and Vierge from Moto2. The two have proven themselves to be competitive even with the Honda CBR1000RR-R’s lackluster performance in comparison to Kawasaki, Yamaha, and Ducati.
Lecuona and Vierge have finished in the top three in the WorldSBK standings and have each won the Suzuka 8 Hours. They will be battling for eighth place in the standings this weekend at Jerez, where six riders stand apart by only five points.
“It’s good to have everything clear on the contract side because we must focus on the job ahead,” said Lecuona. “I want to fight at the front and succeed, something HRC has always strived for in the racing field.
“But we must work hard to reach that level, so soon after the last round of the 2023 championship we will turn our full attention to testing as we start to prepare for the new season, aiming to take a consistent step forward in terms of performance and results.”
Xavi Vierge added: “I’m happy to have renewed my contract with Team HRC for another two years.
“It’s every rider’s dream to be part of a HRC factory team and my feelings have only grown since my early days with the squad.
“It is a source of motivation to continue together, as I believe in the project, in myself, and in my team.
“Together we can accomplish our goal, which is to try to fight for the championship as soon as possible. And so we will continue to work as hard as we can in order to get there.”
Lecuona is no longer eligible to race in MotoGP next year as a result of his announcement to stay in WorldSBK for an extended period of time.
Following the sudden departures of Marc Marquez and Alex Rins, the former KTM MotoGP rider is a strong contender to make a full-time comeback after making multiple outings with Honda in the premier class as a stand-in for other injured riders.
But amid rumors that Miguel Oliveira was being groomed for Marquez’s open Repsol Honda seat, Lecuona fell out of the running.
The news of Lecuona’s WorldSBK confirmation seems to support the speculation that the Portuguese rider and HRC had reached a deal ahead of this weekend’s Thailand MotoGP.