Honda Racing looks ahead to the future as it completes 2024 Class Technical Test
In a 45-minute open pitlane session this evening, 16th September, Honda Racing UK took on testing duties for a Bennetts British Superbike Championship 2024 Class Technical Test at Oulton Park with a Pathway specification CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP.
This Fireblade, built to Pirelli National Superstock specifications but fitted with the British Superbike Motec electronic control unit and wiring harness rather than the OEM equivalents, was assembled specifically for this session by Honda Racing UK to test new technical regulations designed to make entry to the Bennetts British Superbike Championship more accessible.
Honda Racing UK rider Andrew Irwin made his return to riding on circuit for this test and was joined by Pirelli National Superstock Championship competitors Dan Linfoot, Richard Kerr and Joe Talbot. All four riders shared riding duties as they were tasked with evaluating the competitiveness of the Fireblade in this iteration of regulations. Between them, they were able to rack up twenty laps of the fast technical 2.69-mile circuit collecting valuable data for the team in the process.
The riders were unanimous in their feedback regarding the rideability and competitiveness of the Pathway Fireblade and all echoed positive sentiments concerning the future of the Superbike class.
Havier Beltran - Honda Racing UK Team Manager
The Honda Racing UK team is extremely proud to be the first manufacturer to have participated in this 2024 Class Technical Test and assist MSV in their attempt to design regulations that make BSB more accessible for teams in Superstock wanting to step up into BSB and run a Superbike. It has been fantastic to evaluate the potential of these regulations and showcase the competitiveness of this current Honda Fireblade in multiple iterations. BSB has always thrived on its breadth of teams, competitive nature and close racing, and we at Honda are proud to support this championship to evaluate and identify regulations that enable us to continue racing long into the future.
Stuart Higgs - MSV
It is really exciting to complete our first 2024 Class Technical Test. To be three rounds of the championship still to run and to be immersed in several projects for the future is really exciting. Firstly, the BSB Pathway Class, which is going to be really interesting bringing on new teams and new riders, many of which will be in combination, and which I think is something that is really needed. It is something that we have been working on, and Honda has been very enthusiastic to be involved and to help us with this project. With the current Honda Superstock material we have seen how the minimum number of changes can be implemented to make a Superbike-style spec bike. That together with what we are trying to achieve with the main Superbike class by bringing some things back a little bit to prolong reliability, to contain performance and to generally manage the long-term future of the class. This is about creating options for teams in the future. In 2010 we proved with our Evo concept, when we brought it into play at the end of the 2009 season it instantly proved that it was competitive and relevant which ultimately formed the basis of what the class would ultimately move to in 2012. We know in racing that it is all about the quality of the racing, and this is about giving teams and spectators options that won't bring projects to a premature end. We have teams that have come into this championship, and indeed there are teams in world championship racing, and they have not managed to make it to the end of the season. This is about reflecting the actualities of the world and responding accordingly, and to do it in a live environment with a live evaluation and getting rider feedback is so important and the best way to prove the relevance of these regulations and promote the health and sustainability of this championship.
Andrew Irwin - Honda Racing UK
Firstly, I would like to thank MSV and Honda for giving me the opportunity to get back on a Fireblade ahead of my full return to riding. It was great to ride this Pathway specification bike. The main difference between the two bikes is that the Pathway bike is really easy to ride, it’s much less physical, there is less wheelie, and there is less power but that power is usable, you don’t have to kill the power with the rear brake as much which means you are going forwards. For me, once it has the Superbike brakes it will feel much nicer, especially because that is what I am used to. This bike finishes the corner really nicely, mid-corner it is perhaps not as good as the Superbike but the throttle control is really nice and you can open the gas in a nice easy way. It isn’t as aggressive on throttle opening. Honestly, I think this is a bike that you can show your potential on against the best riders in Britain. You are going to have a bike with the same tyres, and the same electronics that is easier to ride. A Superstock rider coming to Superbike will find it easier, we have seen it in the past, Stock riders step up and struggle, so I think this is a good stepping stone.
Dan Linfoot - Optimum Bikes Racing
It was good to get some laps on this Pathway specification Fireblade, and this bike is definitely pleasant to ride, it was comfortable on the side of the tyre in Cascades and in Hissy’s, the bike wasn't lurching out your hand and the progression wasn't so fast you had to readjust, it was very controlled on the side of the tyre and it feels quite fast at apex. There is enough power in there too so it would drive out of the corner well. The bike was in a comfortable area straight away, the bike was definitely ‘Superstockish’ and on engine brake it was working relatively well. My first comment would be to tighten up the engine brake in second gear, especially when I add some lean angle the bike felt quite free, which for me isn't what I would want. But as a first initial test it is definitely a bike that is pleasant to ride.