BSB: Takumi Takahashi completes three-rider Honda Racing UK line-up
Honda Racing UK will have three riders on the 2021 Bennetts British Superbike grid following the arrival of Takumi Takahashi.
Takahashi joins the team as a contracted HRC (Honda Racing Corporation) rider and will line-up alongside Glenn Irwin and fellow Japanese star Ryo Mizuno. The latter joined Honda as part of the new Honda Superbike Challenge Programme, of-which Irwin is also member.
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Whilst Takahashi has never raced in the UK before, the 31-year-old has a wealth of experience on Honda machinery. In the All-Japan Road Racing Championship Takahashi won the GP250 title in 2008 and then the JSB1000 (Superbike) crown in 2017 – Honda’s first national title since 2011.
“I'm happy to announce that in the 2021 season, I will participate in the British Superbike Championship with Honda Racing UK,” Takahashi said. “British Superbike runs on circuits I've never raced, so I'm looking forward to it from now on. In the past, Ryuichi Kiyonari has won the championship, so I will do my best to be able to achieve good results.”
Alongside his efforts in the national championships, Takahashi has also won the Suzuka 8-Hour Endurance race for Honda on three occasions - 2010, 2013 and 2014. Those victories came whilst working alongside Kiyonari, Takaaki Nakagami and then Leon Haslam and Michael van der Mark.
Takahashi competed in the World Superbike Championship last year with the MIE Racing Honda team. He’s also made wildcard appearances in WorldSBK, securing a 10th place finish in 2017 at Portimao for the Red Bull Honda (Ten Kate) team.
“The 2021 season is looking really exciting for Honda Racing UK, not only with the strong line-up we already had with Glenn, Ryo and Tom, but now to add Takumi and the experience he brings with him will really benefit the team,” team boss Havier Beltran said.
“It’s been a busy few months organising Takumi’s move, but I know we’re all looking forward to getting out for pre-season testing and of course racing at Oulton Park for the first round. The guys in the workshop are working hard behind the scenes on the Fireblades and we have a lot of things to test which have been developed over the winter. So, it’s all systems go and we’re looking forward to the season when we can go racing.”
Takahashi is an official HRC test rider and even made a wildcard appearance at the 2015 Japanese MotoGP at Motegi, finishing in a very respectable 12th place.
“The news of a third rider to the Honda Racing UK squad is good, the fact that is it a rider of the pedigree of Takumi Takahashi together with his HRC credentials is great,” BSB series director Stuart Higgs added. “This is an exceptional level of focus being placed on the Bennetts British Superbike Championship by Honda.
“The first race event may still be just under three months away, but the anticipation of a hugely exciting season is immense.”
Tom Neave will continue to race in the Superstock 1000 class this year after narrowly missing out on the 2020 title.
The 2021 BSB season is due to get underway at Oulton Park on June 25-27.