2024 is go for Honda Racing UK after first roads test

Honda Racing kickstarted its 2024 campaign in earnest with a three-day roads orientated pre-season shakedown test at the Circuit Andalucia in southeastern Spain. 

The test marked multiple milestones for Honda as debuts were made by both machinery and personnel alike. Riding his Metzeler shod road-spec Superbike, Dean Harrison acquainted himself with the Honda Fireblade whilst also completing a valuable tyre test ahead of his road racing campaign. He also benefitted from a day spent riding the Supersport bike that he will also race this year. 

His roads teammate, Nathan Harrison, spent the three-day test familiarising himself with the Superstock machinery that he will campaign for the team this year at both the NW200 and Isle of Man TT races. He looked to identify a strong base setting on the new specification Fireblade as well as putting valuable testing mileage under his belt.

Meanwhile, in his highly anticipated return to British Supersport, Jack Kennedy rolled out of pitlane aboard his CBR600RR for the first time as he focussed on adjusting his riding style back to the class in which he has historically dominated. 

Also in attendance for the team, and riding Superstock specification Fireblades, due to the testing restrictions in place for 2024, Tommy Bridewell and Andrew Irwin utilised the three-day test to get back up to speed after their respective winters and gather insight into the model updates on the new Fireblade. 

John McGuinness, was not in attendance as he was assisting Honda Motor Europe with the press launch of the Honda Fireblade and CBR600RR in Portimao. 

The Honda team now returns to the UK to analyse its findings from the test and continue preparations for the season ahead. Their next on-track action will be the first Official BSB Test of the season, taking place 6-7 April at Donington Park. 

Team Manager Havier Beltran

After what feels like a very busy few months spent preparing for the season ahead, it feels brilliant to be back at a race circuit, it always feels like the racing is just around the corner when you get testing. The team are in high spirits and there is a real buzz about the season we have ahead of us, these tests are just as important for the team members as they are for the bikes that we race, especially as we have several new faces this year. That said, both the new Fireblade and the CBR600RR have performed very well over this three-day roads focussed test and we are looking forward to our next outing at the Official Test at Donington. 

#5 Dean Harrison

It has definitely been a busy few days! But it has been really good to get some time out with the team on both the Superbike and the 600. I’ve felt at home straight away and feel like I've bedded into the team quickly, there are a lot of new faces and names to learn! The Superbike is all new so the focus has just been on learning the bike and getting laps in. I’ve also managed to get through a pretty comprehensive Metzeler tyre test and we seem to have found a good direction there. I really enjoyed jumping onto the CBR600RR too and I feel like out of the box we are already in the right ballpark so we can go away and continue to build from there.  

#25 Nathan Harrison

It’s great to be back with the team out here in Spain spinning some laps on the new bike. I was here at Andalucia a few weeks ago with my own 2023 bike and I’m lapping quicker and more consistently here now, so I feel like we’ve made a good step forward, both with the new bike and in myself. This is the first time that I have ridden with a split throttle so the focus has been on getting that into a sweet spot and learning how to utilise it best. I’ve gelled with it really quickly so I have to say a big thank you to the team for organising the test ahead of the year. 

#4 Jack Kennedy

Overall the test has been faultless, everything has gone as planned and we’ve been lucky with the weather as it has been quite windy recently. I feel like I’ve bonded with the team and my crew aIready and the transition into the team has been seamless. I’m blown away by the infrastructure, professionalism and organisation, I’ve had HRC engineers listen to my feedback which really reinforces the respect and connection that this team has. I’m really happy with the bike and the feeling that I have, truthfully I wasn't sure how long I would need to get back up to speed, but I feel that we are there already. I feel entirely reassured that my decision to join this team was the right one.

#1 Tommy Bridewell

After getting a run out on the road bike at Portimao for the press launch it’s been great to get a go on a bit more of a race bike, yeah it’s only a Superstock, but it’s good to get an understanding of the way the inline-four engine works, the way the chassis works and the split throttle. Honestly, the feeling is really positive. We’re focusing on understanding the split throttles which has been really important as that understanding forms the fundamentals of what we develop going forward. The chassis too is encouraging, I rely heavily on front-end feeling, riding with a lot of brake pressure and trailing the brake hard into the corner, and this test has given me some real confidence in those areas. It’s all positive, I just want to get going on the Superbike at the Donington test. 

#18 Andrew Irwin

It’s great to be back riding again, winter always feels so long so to be back on a bike at a race track is always nice! There is a little anxiety before jumping back on a bike again, it sounds silly but you do think ‘Can I still ride a bike?’ especially after such a long time off.  This test has been all about getting back into things, yes this is only a training [Superstock] bike but I’m riding well and physically I’m in a really good place, which is absolutely the priority after last year. Which in truth, is now firmly behind us and my focus is entirely on the year ahead and looking forward. We have more tests on the horizon and I can’t wait to get onto the Superbike and crack on.