The 2017 MCE British Superbike season well and truly kicked off for the Honda Racing squad today as they took delivery of the all-new Fireblade SP2 Dan Linfoot and Jason O’Halloran will campaign in this year’s series.
Six, brand new road-going CBR1000RR SP2s were delivered to the squad’s Louth headquarters this morning, with the team now turning their attention to transforming the road-going machines into BSB weapons.
The machines are the first new Fireblades to come to the UK, with further SP2 machinery not expected to hit British soil until later this Spring.
“We were expecting the new bikes in December, but we’re now into the 16th January and time is not on our side,” said team boss Havier Beltran. “What we have been doing is trying to establish which components do cross over, where our development line can continue and where we have to re-think and re-design.
“Even after only getting the bikes this morning, we have a lot of bikes out there in various states, stripped down and ready for evaluation! Straight away, you see the bodywork is different so that’s something we have to address and get on with straight away and that’s how this works. We’ve got to establish what can cross over from swinging arms, to exhausts etc and we are confident that some of the components we developed for the 2016 machine can cross over to the 2017 bike.
“The most exciting part for us is the electronics, and that we can use fly by wire and a blipper as per the other manufacturers. We’ve already had extensive dyno work in December on our 2016 engine, with a view to understanding where we can push that and what we can do with a fly-by-wire. We’ve a lot of data at the moment and now it’s about making that work with the new bikes.”
The team’s riders will get their first run out on the new Fireblade in stock trim at this weekend’s press launch in Portimao, before the team’s superbike test schedule gets underway at the Monteblanco circuit in Spain in March.
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