Honda Racing UK ready to get 2022 underway with the BSB season opener at Silverstone

Race Preview
It’s been six months since the last round of BSB, but this weekend (15-17 April) the 2022 Bennetts British Superbike Championship roars into life with the season opener taking place at Silverstone’s National Circuit, where Honda Racing UK’s quartet of Glenn Irwin, Ryo Mizuno, Takumi Takahashi and Tom Neave are all raring to get the season underway aboard the Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP. 
 
Finishing last season eighth overall after being plagued with injury, Glenn is hoping to make progress this year and finish higher in the standings. However, it’s not been an easy start to the season for Glenn having picked up numerous injuries following a crash during a track day in Spain just over six weeks ago. 
 
Following treatments and riding through some pain at the first official test of 2022 at Snetterton, Glenn was able to dig deep and wrap up the final pre-season test last week fifth overall at Silverstone’s National Circuit. The shorter layout at Silverstone holds good memories for Honda and Glenn, who last year took the win in Race 1 and in 2020 Glenn finished fourth in all three races.
 
Ryo and Takumi make their return to BSB after their debuts on British soil last year, which was a learning curve for both Japanese riders getting used to the UK circuits. Enjoying the 1.64-mile circuit on his first visit in 2021, Ryo looked strong aboard the Fireblade during the official test, breaking into the top 10 in some sessions eventually finishing 16th overall, with just 0.780s separating the top 16.  
 
Teammate Takumi arrives this season injury-free, having sustained an injury just before the start of last season, which hampered his progress throughout. With a year of track knowledge under his belt, Takumi will be looking to make improvements to work his way up the standings and better his highest finish last year of 13th.
 
Reigning Pirelli National Superstock Champion Tom Neave makes his BSB season debut moving up into the premier class after three years with the Honda squad in the Superstock class. Lifting the trophy in 2021, Lincolnshire-born Tom is looking forward to a full season ahead of him in BSB having had a taste for the class in 2018 as a stand-in rider with Honda. 
 
Getting to grips with the Superbike, which has its differences to his winning Superstock machine including no traction control, extra horsepower and less weight, Tom has enjoyed pre-season testing at Snetterton and the National Circuit at Silverstone, and with Round 1 this weekend he’s looking forward to his rookie year in the British championship. 
 
Road racing legend John McGuinness is back with Honda and in preparation for the Roads, McGuinness will be racing at some rounds of the Pirelli National Superstock Championship, where this year Honda has a strong showing with private teams running the championship winning Fireblade SP. On the combined timesheets after the Silverstone test three Honda’s sat in the top 10 with Brent Harran (Optimum Bikes Racing) fourth, Billy McConnell (C&L Fairburn Properties / Jackson Racing) seventh and David Allingham (TAG Racing Honda) ninth. 
 
Superbike first practice gets underway at 13:00 on Friday 15 April, with Race 1 taking place on Saturday, and Race 2 and Race 3 on Sunday. Click here for the full weekend timetable.

#2 Glenn Irwin

I was watching the racing over the weekend, and it really gives you butterflies knowing that will be us this weekend and I’m excited to get stuck back in! Setting targets is difficult, as you never know how your weekend is going to go, but we have had good success at Silverstone, so we go and give it all we have. Testing was enjoyable and we’ve made a step with the set-up so it’s nice to see some progress. Most people will know that I had a serious accident around six weeks ago while on a track day and I wasn’t sure initially if that was it as far as the 2022 season was concerned. We’re fortunate to be on the grid for Round 1 and in true Irwin style I am going to make the most of it! A huge thank you must go out to Honda, my family and those who have helped in my recovery. 

#88 Ryo Mizuno

I am delighted to be back in BSB again this year. Last year, the season was too short, it felt like I was running all the time and then it was over quickly. I'm looking forward to getting back to a normal season this year, where we can have meetings at every race and slowly work out a strategy. Silverstone is one of my favourite tracks as it was the circuit with the best results last year. In particular, the first corner is one of my favourite points as it is a thrilling corner to drive through at high speed. I'm feeling good in the tests and enjoying the bike even more than last year, so I'll be working hard with the team to finish this weekend with a smile!

#13 Takumi Takahashi

I am looking forward to starting this 2022 season, last year I started with an injury, but this year I am in good condition and ready to get started. Last year I learned to race in the British Championship learning the circuits, but this year I will look to improve how I race. Silverstone isn’t one of my favourite circuits, the final corner is my favourite on the whole circuit but this weekend I will do my best to like Silverstone and understand more. I am looking forward to getting back to racing and I will work with the team to improve our results. 

#68 Tom Neave

I’m feeling excited heading into my first race in my first full season in BSB, I do feel a little apprehensive, but in a good way! I’ve had a taste of Superbikes before, but now I’m in a new territory – the Fireblade is different, I’m different and it’s probably the best field of riders out there that BSB has seen this year, so I’m under no illusion of the challenge that awaits me and being competitive. However, I feel more than ready to step up into this challenge, I have a great team around me and I’m going in as the reigning Superstock Champion. This weekend is all about getting comfortable and learning, there’s no pressure at all from the team to get results, it’s about finishing each race and gaining that valuable experience, which we can then build on. I haven’t had as much time on the Superbike as I’d have liked due to weather conditions at the final test, but Silverstone is a track I like and it’s relatively simple in the layout so for learning the Superbike it's the ideal place.