Honda ready for end-of-season boost with new Fireblade upgrades

Friday, 10 August 2018 11:47 GMT

Honda’s WorldSBK Operations Manager Chris Pike reviews the first half of the 2018 season and offers a glimpse into the future of the Fireblade

Even in the most turbulent of seasons, there is room for optimism. The three Honda bikes on the 2018 grid have rarely been able to match the efforts of the frontrunning teams, but good performances from the Fireblade at certain points of the season so far prove that the potential is there ready to be unearthed. In

In his first season as Honda’s WorldSBK Operations Manager, Chris Pike has been carefully studying all the ups and downs from the first nine rounds, with Honda fifth in the manufacturers’ standings and Leon Camier (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) knocking on the door of the top ten in the riders championship despite missing several races through injury.

In an interview published by Honda and taking advantage of the summer break, Pike reviewed the season so far, showing his satisfaction with some of the changes made: “Our bike is very good in some areas, we have taken big steps with the switch to Magneti Marelli electronics and also with the chassis developments. We need to keep the momentum in these two areas and pick up more on the engine performance, the outright power is not so bad but we need to concentrate on the natural power delivery of the engine and rely less on electronics to smooth it out”.

Although there are still four rounds left in 2018, the road to 2019 is very much underway. At the upcoming official test at Portimao, new parts will be trialed with next year as much in mind as this one: “We have two different chassis options to test to get a direction for 2019, Akrapovič have built a new exhaust system for the Red Bull Honda CBR1000RR and there are some quite significant electronic upgrades to try. We also have a brand-new engine specification to try out, so it’s fair to say that the team will be busy during the upcoming tests!”.

Speaking of 2019, who will be riding the CBR1000RRs? While there is no talk of names for the moment, Pike does hint at the possibility of extra Fireblades on the grid, through the Triple M team: “Of course we would like to see more bikes on the grid, it’s the sign of a successful machine if everybody wants your bike. Matthias Moser [team owner] at TripleM has indicated to us that he would like to expand his team and we are currently in negotiations about this, although nothing has been confirmed at this stage”.

Join WorldSBK VideoPass to see how the Honda bikes perform in the final rounds of the season, and watch Chris Pike explain the science behind their WorldSBK bike in this fantastic video!