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Lecuona gears up for possible MotoGP return with Honda at Silverstone

Iker could be the ideal candidate to replace Rins in the LCR team again next year and having pulled him out of the Suzuka 8 Hours is an indication

MotoGP: Lecuona gears up for possible MotoGP return with Honda at Silverstone

For Iker Lecuona, the MotoGP adventure was over when he was just getting into gear. After two years with KTM in the Tech3 team, at the end of 2021 he was left without a ride (to make room, together with Danilo Petrucci, for Raul Fernandez and Remy Gardner, who had a very short life in that team) and he had no other solution left than to emigrate to SBK. A shame, because that season he finished 6th in Austria and 7th at Silverstone, showing good potential.

In the production-based series, he has been tried and tested by a Honda that has not been up to par with the best competition (up to now he has only been on the podium once, at Assen last year). In Japan, however, Iker has his admirers and the fact that he won the Suzuka 8 Hours last year certainly pleased his employers. In fact, they have involved him in the MotoGP project several times: the first this year at Jerez to replace Marc Marquez, the second at Assen in place of Joan Mir. Today's news, however, is that he will be at Silverstone on the bike of Alex Rins, who is still recovering.

Lecuona's name had already leaked a few weeks ago and Lucio Cecchinello himself confirmed to GPOne that Iker was in a run-off with Bradl for his replacement. Choosing the Spanish rider, however, was not such a foregone conclusion. Not due to any shortcomings or demerits, but because the British GP coincides with the Suzuka 8 Hours, in which Lecuona was supposed to participate.

That race is special for the Japanese manufacturers; for as long as the world championship calendar allowed it, the best riders in the world used to race there, from Valentino Rossi down. Now certain appearances are no longer possible, but giving up on a rider who only took the CBR-RR to victory last year is still something strange. Unless you think of the possibility of Lecuona moving to MotoGP in 2024.

There would be a free place, because Rins is negotiating with Yamaha, and it would be very strange if he gave up a place in a factory team to stay in a satellite. Clearly Honda is figuring out how to fill that seat.

Morbidelli might be a possibility, but the Italian rider and the Japanese manufacturer hadn't parted ways on the best of terms in the past and, going through the satellite teams, Franco would prefer the Ducati with Gresini colours rather than embarking on another difficult undertaking after the considerable effort made with Yamaha in recent years. Otherwise, one could think of a rookie and in this case the name would be Tony Arbolino, but Honda is trying to get back on its feet again and, right now, a more experienced rider would be more useful for developing the bike.

Lecuona, from this point of view, has a perfect curriculum: he is young (23 years old), has already raced in MotoGP and has shown in SBK that he knows how to make himself available to the team without complaining too much. So, the choice of him to replace Rins at Silverstone seems more understandable. Another Grand Prix that will be a sort of dress rehearsal to understand how Iker works with the LCR team and in the meantime let him get to know the RC213V better.

If they are roses, they will bloom. In the English countryside, obviously.


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