THE WORLD’S BEST RACERS RATED
To win a WSB title or a BSB race or a British title, a bike needs to be brilliant. MCN’S testers say these machines are way beyond brilliant
We are in a very privileged position; after weeks of begging phone calls to race teams and manufacturers, they finally gave in and allowed us to ride the hottest race bikes this side of Motogp. Some are priceless championship-winning bikes like Jonathan Rea’s ZX-10R, others represent years of development and are the pinnacle of that model’s evolution – for example Honda’s stunning BSB bike.
This window into another world gives us the opportunity to take a short glimpse at the heroics needed for their riders to pilot them, and the genius of the engineers who put the bikes together. We can also use these cutting-edge machines to predict the future, to give us a glimpse of what we can expect from next year’s road and race bikes – after all, much of the development for our 2016 road bikes has come from these bikes’ ancestors.
But no matter how many race bikes we’ve tested over the years, it’s impossible to hide our nerves as a group of factory mechanics prepare their priceless bikes for our enjoyment. So many things run through your mind, mainly the need to refrain from crashing. But as the engines are warmed and all the anxious eyes turn in your direction, there’s no room to hide. The tension increases as you throw a leg over the bike, but it all disappears once you’re trundling down pit lane, and your focus shifts to the task in hand.
The Honda BSB bike we’re riding is the last of the line for this model Fireblade, and the best it’s ever been. Despite being one of the oldest bikes on the grid, riders Dan Linfoot and Jason O’halloran both secured showdown spots. Hutchy’s BMW S1000RR could be labelled as the most successful race bike of the year, it’s never been beaten on the roads and was consistently on the podium in British Superstock – and all with a left foot change. The British championship winning ZX-6R as ridden by Tarran Mackenzie shows a glimpse of how good a 600 could be. And finally there’s the WSB Kawasaki ZX-10R ridden to glory for the second time by Jonathan Rea. The bike may have changed, but the results haven’t.
‘It’s impossible to hide our nerves as factory engineers prepare the bikes’