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Vierge targets WorldSBK podium, 'we have the potential'

After a year in WorldSBK Xavi Vierge is eager to convert the experience garnered in 2022 into his first podium on the Honda.

Having come close in Italy, the former Moto2 rider is confident of the progress made across his debut season.

“Has ben a good year but also I’ve had two big injuries during the season and this makes the year a bit more difficult than necessary.,” Vierge acknowledged of his rookie showing. “I think we make a good progress in the year. We have really good races. We performed good and the most important thing is that is our first year with the team, in that championship, many new things to discover and I think we make good work. We have a lot of data and we see the potential we have. Will be really, really important to make a good pre-season, to be ready for start fighting for the top positions next year.”


Winter testing for Team HRC kicked off at Jerez on Tuesday - just ten weeks away from the first race week of 2023 - and Vierge is determined to use the time wisely as he chases his goals.

“So excited [to start the year],” the 25-year-old continued. “Like you see, the team and Honda is working so much but during the season we don’t have enough time to discover everything. So now it’s really important to use these days of testing on the correct way, to understand and to make a really good base because next year will be a really important for us. I think with one year experience we will be much more ready to fight for the top positions and of course our goals will be much higher.

“We need to try to start the season fighting inside the top five to be fighting for the podiums as soon as possible.

“For sure, super concessions will help us,” he elaborated, on the recently announced rule changes. “Finally is the same bike but we can adjust a bit more, this make us, let’s say an easier life. The problem is we receive that on the last two races of the year, that has been a really difficult track conditions. We arrived to Mandalika, that is a new asphalt from ten days ago so every time we go on track, the track improve three seconds. So it’s really difficult to understand and to take profit about the new setup, and then when we moved to Australia. Like you all know, the condition was crazy. Every session is changing a lot. The races are with rain tyres with dry setups or the opposite, so is really difficult to see a clear step. But we have now the pre season to take profit about that and to be ready for next year. I think we are making a good job during this year. We perform better, I improve a lot and for sure next year, we will be fighting on top.”

While both himself and teammate Iker Lecuona were frequently in the mid pack fight, with the Spaniard recording a best result of fourth in Misano’s Superpole race alongside a quartet of top-six finishes, Vierge is confident his CBR1000RR-R Fireblade is just in need of small tweaks before he can fully challenge at the front.

“Our performance, is tricky to say at the moment, it’s not one thing, is like small details in all the areas,” he admitted. “In a really high level, this small details makes a big difference. Now, we have the potential, we have the performance but on the long races if we didn’t accept our reality, and we want to be with them at the beginning, we destroy the tyres for the last laps of the races. I think it’s because we struggle a bit more than the rest to stop the bike in the last part of the corner. We need to push more the tyres and then we don’t turn enough so we never can pick up the bike to find the perfect drive. We lose always a little bit on acceleration. Then also we want to recover that time. So the problem is getting bigger.

“To go like the others, we need to use much more the tyres so we are always a bit in disadvantage. At the beginning of the races with the new tyres we are able to be there, but arrive to one moment when the tyres make the drop, we cannot continue pushing at the same level because the crashes arrive but we have some new setups to try. Unfortunately in the last races we are not able to explore good but we have the time in this winter to try all the things and to be ready with a better level for next year.

“The expectation of course is to win as soon as possible and we are working on that direction,” he explained confidently. “We have the super concessions, but also like you see this year, we finished the season really late and we start really soon. So really, we don’t have so much time so we need to work really hard, really precise, take the correct way because, of course the objective is to start the session trying to fight for the podiums as soon as possible.

“I think even if we don’t change anything with the package we have already, with one year experience our level for sure we go up. But even like that, Honda is working so much and the team also, so will be even better.

“We have really good potential. We have a bike that in the last part of the straight is really fast. We have a bike that, depending on the tracks, we are really competitive. We need to figure out and to use our experience to start all the weekends faster because like you know, many tracks of this year are new, so we lose much time on Friday. Then Saturday is already race one so also I think the one year experience will work so good for us. I think for next year we’ll just have advantage in respect this one.”

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