Louth, Lincolnshire – Honda UK’s racing workshop gives us a fascinating glimpse of what it takes to convert a streetbike to Superbike racing trim, as the crews start work on the newly-released 2017 CBR1000RR SP2, the first new Fireblade in eight years.
Even then, in typical conservative Honda fashion, the new litre-class sports-bike is more an evolution than an all-new machine, but it does have the full suite of rider aids that make it possible to race a machine with a better than 1:1 power-to-weight ratio (minimum weight 168kg, more than 168kW in race trim!) and stay aboard.
In addition, Honda has produced just 500 (the minimum allowable for an ‘SP’ homologation special) of an uprated SP2 version with more gizmotronics and a very special cylinder head, that will allow a lot more tuning without breaking the rules limiting modifications to standard components.
Honda Pro Racing UK will be fielding a two-rider team – Dan Linfoot and Jason O'Halloran – in the incredibly hotly-contested British Superbike Series in 2017, as well as its road-racing ‘dream team’ of John McGuinness and Guy Martin, who can be seen getting involved with the preparation of the race bikes from the very beginning.