A day of mixed weather and race restarts left the Honda Team hungry for a more fortunate Sunday at the Spanish GP as Joan Mir and Iker Lecuona finished way down the standings and without points on Saturday.
In his maiden Sprint Race, Lecuona finished 18th overall, crossing the line 25.356 behind overall topper Brad Binder while Mir ended at 20th position as he failed to finish the race.
Cooler morning conditions offered Joan Mir a different situation to assess the Honda Team, and #36 was able to find some improvements. Mir started the Q1 session with immediate speed as he battled for a Q2 transfer spot but was left missing the last tenths of a second needed after his two falls on Friday. 20th on the grid with the best time of 1'37.346 had Mir with work to do in the 12-lap Sprint.
Red flagged on the first lap, Joan Mir's excellent start which took him from 20th to 12th would unfortunately be for nothing as the grid was reset. Mir's efforts to recover positions again in the restarted Sprint would be in vain as he suffered a second fall of the weekend at Turn 6 late in the race. Uninjured in the fall, Mir is hopeful of improvements on Sunday as he aims to find the speed he showed in the opening races and tests of the year.
With the primary objectives of learning and enjoying, Iker Lecuona eagerly started his second day with the Honda Team at the Spanish GP. Known for his wet-weather ability, the WorldSBK regular was excited by the dark clouds which gathered overhead at the end of Free Practice 3. It would amount to just a light sprinkling of rain, but Lecuona continued to push and give his maximum regardless of the conditions.
Qualifying 1.2 seconds behind his teammate for the weekend, Lecuona lined up on the grid determined to stay with the riders ahead and learn. Unphased by the added pressure of the red flag and the restart, Lecuona immediately moved ahead of both Tech 3 riders and spent the majority of the race battling Jonas Folger. Beating the German Test rider, Lecuona ended his first Saturday Sprint Race content and was ready for tomorrow's Grand Prix.
Both Repsol Honda Team riders will get a chance to improve their fortunes tomorrow, Sunday with the Spanish Grand Prix. Scheduled to start at 15:00 Local Time and run over 25 laps, the race looks set to once again be a battle between riders and the fierce Spanish sun.
"My first MotoGP Sprint race was overall very good, the red flag and doing two starts made things a little strange but I was able to learn a lot in the race. It was really physical, especially in this heat, but I managed it and racing with the other riders again taught me a lot. For tomorrow I think we can put what we learned into practice and close the distance to the other riders a bit more. I am satisfied with how the weekend is going, I am learning a lot and I am really enjoying riding the Honda and being back in MotoGP," said Iker Lecuona.
"Today's crash was similar to yesterday, I was braking and lost the front in the last part of the corner. We are struggling this weekend, trying to find some advantage in braking. It's really easy to make a mistake, especially with the high track temperatures, and it was my mistake today. I am uninjured and we get to try again tomorrow, this is the important point. We have to keep our focus and look to the test on Monday where we will have a lot of time to understand our situation deeply," Joan Mir said.