Tech3 KTM MotoGP rider Iker Lecuona will make the switch to the World Superbike series next year, securing a factory Honda ride.
Lecuona’s move to WSBK was long anticipated, and he has long maintained that he knew what his future would hold for 2022 – but an announcement was taking longer than expected.
However, Lecuona said during the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix weekend at Misano that his 2022 deal was set to be finally made official the following week – and it has now indeed been announced.
The 21-year-old Lecuona will be partnered by a 24-year-old Moto2 veteran in Xavi Vierge (pictured below), in an all-new, all-rookie, fully-Spanish line-up for Honda.
The Japanese manufacturer has elected to field an all-new line-up after losing the services of star rider Alvaro Bautista, the former MotoGP podium finisher who had joined the Honda team back in 2020 but couldn’t achieve the results he’d desired on Honda’s CBR1000RR-R.
Honda, which has chosen not to retain Bautista’s team-mate Leon Haslam in its factory team, is set to finish fifth and last of World Superbikes’ five full-time marques in the manufacturers’ standings this year, and is alone in having failed to secure a win in 2021 – although Bautista did get it onto the podium.
Both Lecuona and Vierge are only confirmed for 2022 as it stands.
Lecuona, who debuted in late 2019 and arrived to MotoGP full-time last year, has found himself out of a Tech3 seat for next season, with KTM electing to fill the line-up with Moto2 title rivals Remy Gardner and Raul Fernandez.
The Spaniard has enjoyed something of a late-season renaissance in terms of pace, and was briefly linked with the vacant Yamaha satellite ride before that went to Moto3’s Darryn Binder.
Lecuona’s current Tech3 team-mate Petrucci is set to remain in the KTM camp as he prepares to transition to rally-raids and to make his debut in the Dakar Rally.