TWO-WHEEL CHAT­TER: Honda’s re­freshed rac­ing ef­fort

Big Red an­nounces plans to sup­port US Superbike rac­ing

Cycle World - - Front Page - By Bradley Adams

Amer­i­can Honda has an­nounced its re­turn to the Amer­i­can road­rac­ing scene. The news comes nearly eight years af­ter Big Red stepped away from the pad­dock and fol­lows an agree­ment with the Gen­uine Broaster Chicken Honda team, which will en­ter for­mer Motoamerica Superstock 1000 cham­pion Jake Gagne in the Mo­tul Superbike class on a 2017 Honda CBR1000RR SP2.

When asked about the move, Mike Sny­der, se­nior man­ager of mo­tor­cy­cle mar­ket­ing at Amer­i­can Honda, said that, “Motoamerica was a tough sell in­ter­nally in the first year and even into the sec­ond. But I think peo­ple are start­ing to see that there is value in be­ing in­volved, so here we are to­day.”

Nat­u­rally, Amer­i­can Honda's de­ci­sion came with a push from Motoamerica part­ners Wayne Rainey and Chuck Ak­sland, who ad­mit­ted to call­ing Sny­der weekly for the past two years. “The fans al­ways ask us, ‘When is Honda go­ing to come back?’” Rainey said. “This is a start, and we ex­pect more things to hap­pen from here.”

An all-new CBR1000RR and up­dated Motoamerica rules that now mir­ror those of World Superbike played a role in Honda’s de­ci­sion, Sny­der said. “The new plat­form is a much bet­ter place to start. The SP2 model is specif­i­cally de­signed for race ho­molo­ga­tion. That’s a con­scious out­ward stretch by Honda in go­ing rac­ing again, so it’s a nat­u­ral sell up­stream.”

About the new rules, Rainey added, “We thought that was the fastest way to get man­u­fac­turer sup­port.” Gone are the days in which Amer­ica had its own unique Superbike rules pack­age. Now, the man­u­fac­tur­ers can ap­proach road­rac­ing with a global view, glean­ing parts and de­vel­op­ment ideas from Europe and Ja­pan.

Gen­uine Broaster Chicken Honda will take ad­van­tage of de­vel­op­ment strides made by the Ten Kate Rac­ing-run Red Bull World Superbike Team, which fields Amer­i­can Nicky Hayden and fel­low for­mer Mo­togp racer Ste­fan Bradl. As part of its mul­ti­year agree­ment, Gen­uine Broaster Chicken Honda will also re­ceive tech­ni­cal sup­port from Honda.

As Rainey had said, it’s a start.

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