First home run for Mir as Lecuona makes Honda MotoGP debut
A still recovering Marc Marquez will be replaced by Honda WorldSBK’s Iker Lecuona, the young Valencia rider making his MotoGP return alongside Joan Mir inside the Repsol Honda Team box for his first home race as a Honda rider.
Returning to one of the most familiar tracks on the MotoGP World Championship calendar, the paddock arrives at the Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto. First hosting a Grand Prix in 1987, the 4.42-kilometer-long circuit has seen Honda take 22 premier class Grands Prix victories, the most recent coming in 2019 when Marc Marquez won the race. The entirety of HRC arrives buoyed by Alex Rins’ victory in Austin, Texas and all are eager to continue the form and make further improvements.
Marc Marquez will continue recovering from the broken first metacarpal of the right hand sustained at the Portuguese Grand Prix. The French GP, May 12 – 14, has been set as the target for the #93 to return to competition. For the Spanish Grand Prix, he will be replaced by Iker Lecuona.
Focusing on the positives of Austin and the improvements made, Joan Mir lands back on home turf with a clear path to follow. The Jerez circuit has seen the #36 produce a string of his trademark consistent results in the premier class, sixth place in 2022 his worst finish at the venue since arriving in MotoGP in 2019. Having made a step with the ergonomics of the Repsol Honda Team RC213V in Austin, confirming this improved feeling will be the first objective of the weekend for the double World Champion.
2022 and 2023 have seen Iker Lecuona competing with Team HRC in WorldSBK, the 23-year-old from Valencia consistently fighting for the top five in his rookie season. This included a podium finish at the Dutch round in 2022, just his second weekend of competition on the Honda CBR1000RR-R. His 2023 WorldSBK season started with a string of top-ten finished in Phillip Island with more speed shown in Mandalika and Assen. Lecuona is no stranger to the premier class, having competed full time from 2020 to the end of 2021. He achieved a best result of sixth place at the Austrian Grand Prix in 2021 during this time.
Stefan Bradl will contest the Spanish Grand Prix aboard a fifth Honda RC213V with the Honda HRC Test Team.
“My first time riding in front of the Spanish fans as a Repsol Honda Team rider will be special, I am hoping we can have another weekend of improvements. The end result in Austin was not what we wanted with the crash, but we found an important step in the race that I am looking to trying in Jerez. Austin to Jerez is a very big change in terms of layout and demands but I have always felt comfortable there. I’m also looking forward to the post-race test, a day to just focus on our work and my riding.”
“First I want to wish Marc all the best in his recovery, he is the reference in MotoGP and I think not only the fans, but also the riders miss him a lot. For me, of course it’s an incredible opportunity to return to MotoGP and ride with the team of my dreams. Doing it in front of the Spanish crowd is extra special. But we have to be realistic, it will be a very tough and demanding weekend. I have spent this year and last year fully focused on WorldSBK with Team HRC and now I need to get used to everything that is different in MotoGP as well as learn a brand-new bike – the Honda RC213V. No matter what, I will do my best and let’s see what the outcome is.”