Two rookies made up the Honda WorldSBK line up in 2022 with team boss Leon Camier impressed with the progress made.
A podium at Assen and pole position on home soil at Barcelona for Iker Lecuona highlighted the Spaniard’s ability to switch from MotoGP to World Superbikes with Xavi Lecuona having similar consistent mid-pack success as he rounded out the season’s top ten narrowly behind his teammate.
“It’s been definitely a lot of progress,” Camier acknowledged. “With two rookies, we were confident they could come in and perform well but also the base of our package became a lot more stable this year, I would say.
“There were quite a few changes, as we know, from suspension and brakes and these things which brought quite a few unknowns. Our idea was to do it now and try and progress and to develop everything for future profits.
“In general, I think the year’s gone very well. We were really fast many times with both riders. Many top sixes and a podium; it was a little bit gifted, but we had to be there to fight for it anyway.
“I think it’s been a good year and we’re quite confident the future will keep progressing. It’ll take time, for sure. It’s not something we turn around in one day. Japan are working hard but they’re not super-fast to make changes always and, when they do, they want to make sure it’s to the right way. It’s a bit of a philosophy from them. We’ll keep making progress and we will arrive with a package that we can be consistently competitive with.”
While the riders were new to the class, Camier himself is only in his second season at the helm after retiring from active competition at the end of 2020.
“It’s been a constant learning, every day!” He admitted, of his relatively new role. “I’ve honestly really, really enjoyed it because it’s a completely new world. There are many points to it, it’s not just me stepping in and doing what I think needs to be done. There’s a lot from Japan that we always take into consideration, their views and expectations on things. It’s very important. We’re working on the communication between technicians here and in Japan. It’s not a simple situation. It’s a lot of responsibility to jump into straight away and it’s never ending learning. It’s a work in progress all the time.
“The super concession thing is a slow burner,” the Englishman continued, on the series’ new introduction. “It’s not that you get one thing and, all of a sudden, you’re going to be competitive straight away. There are so many moving parts to a team. Teams have been in this paddock for 15-20 years and it takes time for you, as a team, to get there. We’re the third year as a team. There are many little parts we need to keep improving in the team and on the bike as well.
“It’s a new bike. With the first year of Covid, nothing was really done. Last year and this year there’s been good progress. The hard part is the last part and that’s where we are now. For us, as HRC, we have to keep working on our own project and focus on our own issues and things we know we can improve. That’s the goal.
“It’s important to have a little bit of time off over Christmas to reflect and we already understand quite a few things where we need to go to improve, which is important. We will have lots of meetings and discussions over the winter to see how we, as a team, can improve.”