It’s been six months since the last round of BSB, but this weekend (15-17 April) the 2022 Bennetts British Superbike Championship roars into life with the season opener taking place at Silverstone’s National Circuit, where Honda Racing UK’s quartet of Glenn Irwin, Ryo Mizuno, Takumi Takahashi and Tom Neave are all raring to get the season underway aboard the Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP.
Finishing last season eighth overall after being plagued with injury, Glenn is hoping to make progress this year and finish higher in the standings. However, it’s not been an easy start to the season for Glenn having picked up numerous injuries following a crash during a track day in Spain just over six weeks ago.
Following treatments and riding through some pain at the first official test of 2022 at Snetterton, Glenn was able to dig deep and wrap up the final pre-season test last week fifth overall at Silverstone’s National Circuit. The shorter layout at Silverstone holds good memories for Honda and Glenn, who last year took the win in Race 1 and in 2020 Glenn finished fourth in all three races.
Ryo and Takumi make their return to BSB after their debuts on British soil last year, which was a learning curve for both Japanese riders getting used to the UK circuits. Enjoying the 1.64-mile circuit on his first visit in 2021, Ryo looked strong aboard the Fireblade during the official test, breaking into the top 10 in some sessions eventually finishing 16th overall, with just 0.780s separating the top 16.
Teammate Takumi arrives this season injury-free, having sustained an injury just before the start of last season, which hampered his progress throughout. With a year of track knowledge under his belt, Takumi will be looking to make improvements to work his way up the standings and better his highest finish last year of 13th.
Reigning Pirelli National Superstock Champion Tom Neave makes his BSB season debut moving up into the premier class after three years with the Honda squad in the Superstock class. Lifting the trophy in 2021, Lincolnshire-born Tom is looking forward to a full season ahead of him in BSB having had a taste for the class in 2018 as a stand-in rider with Honda.
Getting to grips with the Superbike, which has its differences to his winning Superstock machine including no traction control, extra horsepower and less weight, Tom has enjoyed pre-season testing at Snetterton and the National Circuit at Silverstone, and with Round 1 this weekend he’s looking forward to his rookie year in the British championship.
Road racing legend John McGuinness is back with Honda and in preparation for the Roads, McGuinness will be racing at some rounds of the Pirelli National Superstock Championship, where this year Honda has a strong showing with private teams running the championship winning Fireblade SP. On the combined timesheets after the Silverstone test three Honda’s sat in the top 10 with Brent Harran (Optimum Bikes Racing) fourth, Billy McConnell (C&L Fairburn Properties / Jackson Racing) seventh and David Allingham (TAG Racing Honda) ninth.
Superbike first practice gets underway at 13:00 on Friday 15 April, with Race 1 taking place on Saturday, and Race 2 and Race 3 on Sunday.