After collecting his first WorldSBK podium for Honda, Xavi Vierge is certain that he will one day challenge for the championship.
Iker Lecuona had a miserable and unpleasant weekend in Mandalika, but Vierge had a triumphant and happy one as he wrapped up a great weekend with P3 in the final WorldSBK race of the day.
Vierge demonstrated the kind of form and promise we’ve hardly seen from him and Honda since they joined the championship in 2022 by being able to compete with the leading runners for the most of both feature-length races.
The Spaniard finished third, which is a fantastic achievement even if he did not win. This year’s WorldSBK competition is likely the strongest ever, and last season, podium finishes were difficult for anybody other than Alvaro Bautista, Toprak Razgatlioglu, and Jonathan Rea.
The obvious next step for Vierge and Honda is to win a race, and the only way he can pose a serious threat is by improving his consistency with those kinds of performances. Mandalika, though, shown that it is quite likely to happen in the future.
Even if it’s highly unlikely in 2023, Vierge feels he has what it takes to be a contender for the crown.
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After the outcome on Sunday, Vierge said: “I’m at a loss for words right now! Since the first day I rode my bike, we have battled valiantly for this, but it hasn’t always been simple.
“It appears as though we’ve made progress, but I believe we are getting closer, and I hope we can keep moving in that direction to consistently finish inside the top six.
“You must constantly believe that you are the best rider; else, you lose right away. It is true that in this world, if the desired outcomes don’t materialize, it is simple to lose that.
“Unfortunately, I experienced some really positive times in my career, which were swiftly followed by quite negative ones.
“I made an effort to hold onto all of my years’ worth of experience so that I could later extract the most. I believe I am qualified to compete for the Championship, and I will put in a lot of effort to accomplish that with Honda.”
As previously indicated, Vierge’s finest WorldSBK weekend occurred at the same time as Lecuona had a terrible round two.
The former MotoGP racer suffered three collisions, two of which occurred early in the weekend, which caused him to lose confidence and fall behind.
Lecuona said, “I want to thank my team first because they worked hard to fix the bike after three collisions, and they did so in a very short amount of time. It hasn’t been an easy day, and it caps off what has been a very difficult weekend.
We experienced highs and lows throughout each session, and ultimately we were unable to pull everything together.
“I want to congratulate the whole team as well as my teammate Xavi for achieving his first Superbike podium. For now, Xavi deserves our congratulations; maybe there will be more to come for both of us. Today is Xavi’s day.”