TWO-WHEEL CHATTER: Honda’s refreshed racing effort
Big Red announces plans to support US Superbike racing
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.