Lecuona closes in on points as Mir falls from forgettable Spanish GP
Jerez, May 01, 2023: An arduous weekend in Jerez came to an end for the Repsol Honda Team with Iker Lecuona delighted at his steady growth while Joan Mir focuses on Monday’s Test.
The atmosphere was electric as the hills around the Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto was filled with fans from the early hours. With close to 80,000 fans in attendance, the scene was set for a thrilling Spanish Grand Prix as the MotoGP World Championship returned to Europe. Slightly cooler temperatures and the building of rain clouds in the distance saw some last-minute changes as the field headed out to the grid for the 25-lap race.
Another Turn 2 crash on the opening lap caused the red flag to come out and both Joan Mir and Iker Lecuona were sent back to the garage. As on Saturday, the pair handled the pressure without fault and recreated their strong stars.
Lecuona’s first full-length MotoGP race with the Repsol Honda Team was a memorable one as he immediately got past former podium finisher Jonas Folger and worked to stay with HRC Test Rider Stefan Bradl. Keeping calm and managing his tires until the end, the Honda WorldSBK rider finished in 16th – just on the edge of the points as several riders ahead made mistakes in the tricky conditions. Two race finishes from two starts this weekend is an ideal result for the 23-year-old after his last-minute call to replace Marc Marquez. Both Lecuona and the Repsol Honda Team leave the weekend content with his performance.
A complicated weekend for Joan Mir showed some promise early in the race as he made up a handful of places off the line. Slotting into the pack fighting for the top ten, Mir worked to stay in contention. Unfortunately, a fall on lap two at Turn 9 would end the double World Champion’s race – a disappointing end to a complicated weekend. His and the team’s focus now shifts to the Monday Test where they will be looking to understand and solve all that went on this weekend.
Iker Lecuona (16th)
“First of all I just want to say that this weekend was like a dream, to race the Spanish GP as an official factory MotoGP rider – and in the Repsol Honda Team, it’s a moment I have thought about since I was a kid. I need to say a massive thank you to HRC, Repsol and all of the crew here. Everyone worked so well and all of them helped me so much. Every time we got on the bike we went faster and felt better. In the race, for the first ten laps, I was able to stay with the group but then I felt the front tyre drop a bit, I didn’t know how to manage it and I lost some time to the other riders. Then towards the end, I understood more about the bike and the tyres and I was able to gain on Raul a lot. Maybe with half a lap more I could get him and get a point. I didn’t know there was a point on the table, but anyway, it has been a great weekend and I am really happy. Thanks to everyone once again and now I get ready for the next WorldSBK weekend in Barcelona.”
Joan Mir (DNF)
“The hot temperatures of the weekend made everything more critical, we are still working to understand the bike and overcome some limits. When I try to push I feel like I arrive at the limit and I lose the front, it’s a combination of the bike and my style. Fortunately, we have the test tomorrow to work on it and I think we can improve our base setting a bit tomorrow. Looking at what Honda was trying with Stefan this weekend, I think there are some things which will help us so I am optimistic for tomorrow. We are still in the early stages, just four races with this bike and we need to keep working to improve.”