HRC test rider and Japanese Superbike star Takumi Takahashi will be wheeled in to the Red Bull Honda team for two of the remaining four rounds of the 2017 Superbike World Championship.
The squad have struggled to make the new Fireblade competitive through its debut season, so appointing three-time Suzuka Eight Hour winner Takahashi as the latest replacement for the late Nicky Hayden marks an interesting move given his links with HRC.
Takahashi will ride the CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2 alongside Stefan Bradl at next weekend’s Portimao round and the Jerez round at the end of October, but the team have not made any comment as to who will ride the bike at the remaining two rounds in Magny Cours and Qatar.
There is also no mention of Davide Giugliano, who rode the bike last time out at the Lausitizring after his departure from the MCE British Superbike Championship earlier this year.
“I’m honoured, as a rider who has continuously fought to race on the world stage, that my achievements and experience have been recognised, and I have been given the opportunity to race in the World Superbike Championship,” Takahashi said. “I’ll use all of the experience I’ve gained racing the CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2 in the All-Japan championship to aim high and contribute to the team. I’d like to ride my best in front of the world’s Superbike fans, so I hope they’ll look forward to seeing me.”
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