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Eazi Grip

Honda Racing UK is back on track for 2023 BSB preseason preparations

The Honda Racing UK team kicked off its 2023 season preparations with a busy testing schedule across three different race tracks in Spain, culminating in the first official Bennetts British Superbike three-day test at the 2.4-mile Navarra Circuit.

Returning to the team for 2023, BSB rider Andrew Irwin was able to reacquaint himself with the Fireblade that he has previously ridden to the top step of the podium, albeit he returns to a bike two years further into its development cycle. His testing program was concentrated on identifying a base setting as he looked to refine his riding style to suit the Honda once more. His return to the team was seamless as he posted the fifth quickest time at Navarra and was consistently quick on used tyres.

Before attending the official test, the team completed a total of seven days of running across two private tests at Monteblanco and Andalucia. After clocking up several laps across the first two days of the initial private test and finding a comfortable setting, Tom Neave was unfortunately involved in an incident on day three causing an injury to his shoulder. He received medical attention at the circuit before returning to the UK where he underwent further medical inspection and received treatment accordingly for a broken collarbone.

In preparation for this year’s road racing campaign, riders John McGuinness MBE and Nathan Harrison were able to capture valuable data aboard their Honda CBR1000RR-R SP Fireblades across the two private tests. Acclimatising to riding on circuit again after their respective off-seasons, both riders primarily focussed on getting laps under their belts as they got themselves back up to racing speeds. John was also able to test some Metzeler development rubber in preparation for the upcoming road races. Meanwhile, Nathan utilised the testing opportunity to integrate himself with the team and begin to adapt his riding style to suit the unique characteristics of riding on slick tyres free from electronic rider aids.

The Honda Racing UK team will now return to the UK to participate in two further Official BSB tests, the first of which takes place at Donington Park Circuit on 25th-26th March.

Havier Baltran, Honda Racing UK Team Manager

“It’s excellent to kick off our 2023 campaign with such an intensive testing program, which has enabled us to gather invaluable data and get some serious mileage under our belts across both our Roads and Bennetts British Superbike specification Fireblades. We also have some old and new faces within the team, so it has been a great opportunity for the team to bond and establish their working relationships. It’s important to note that all of this would not be possible without the loyal support of our trusted partners and sponsors so I have to take this opportunity to thank them all. And finally, it is brilliant to see the efforts of the Honda Racing UK team throughout these tests, but it is also great to see a number of other teams choosing to run the Honda CBR1000RR-R SP Fireblade across multiple classes.”

John McGuinness MBE

Preseason testing has been brilliant and I’ve really really enjoyed it. Seven days of riding at two different race tracks and getting familiarised with the bike again. It’s been a long time since I’ve ridden the Fireblade in anger as the last time I rode the superbike was for the Senior at last year’s TT, so it’s great to get back in the swing of things and get prepared for this year. I’ve enjoyed every minute of it; I’ve enjoyed working with the team; the bike’s mint and I’ve enjoyed working with Nathan as a teammate. Roll on some racing!”

Nathan Harrison

“It was a fantastic first testing program with Honda Racing UK. It’s been a completely new environment for me as I’ve been used to doing it all myself! It was a big learning curve for me but the team welcomed me with open arms and really helped me to settle into things. I’ve managed to get plenty of miles in and every day the bike has felt more and more like my own. Even though I wasn’t chasing a lap time, I was made up with how quick I went too! I just can’t wait to get back on it!”

Andrew Irwin

“My return to Honda Racing UK has begun with ten days of testing and I really feel that we have ended the test with the bike in a really good place, the best I’ve felt with the bike and I feel really confident to be back riding the Honda Fireblade. I’m also really excited to be back working with my crew chief from 2019, Spider, who I work with very well. I’ve done a lot of laps, and the team have all worked really hard.  We are in a really good place to head back to the UK and go to Donington and Silverstone ready to continue working and to try and take that next step. Fundamentally the bike has the same DNA as the 2020 bike that I last rode but it has definitely taken a step forward. Hopefully, with this package, we can put together a really strong season.”

Tom Neave

I know it was brief but it was great to get back out on the bike after what felt like such a long off-season. It was unfortunate what happened and obviously, this isn’t the way that I wanted to start the year, but I’m doing everything I can to heal up quickly and get myself back to full fitness ready to make the first UK test.”

Posted on Monday, March 13th, 2023 in News

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