There’s a new look for the Independent Honda team, with the prospects that it will bring strong results on the track
As the 2023 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship fires into life, there’ll be a new look for the MIE Honda Racing Team, as they ink a new deal with Malaysian energy company, Petronas, thus becoming the PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda Team. The CBR1000RR-R of Malaysian rider Hafizh Syahrin and Brazilian rookie Eric Granado will have the fluorescent green colour scheme for the 2023 season, giving the team a new look and hopefully, renewed fortunes after a tricky time in 2022 and in 2023 pre-season testing.
In what is a “multi-year” deal, the new partnership ensures the growth of the team’s presence in the paddock as well as its sustainability. Expanding to the FIM Supersport World Championship in 2023 with 2021 British Superbike champion Tarran Mackenzie and Malaysian rider Adam Norrodin, the team bring back the iconic Honda brand – one of the most successful in WorldSSP – back to the class.
Speaking about a second year in the class, Syahrin is ready to shine: “I’m very happy to be heading into my second WorldSBK season with the PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda team. The first year was tough but I’ve gained so much experience, thanks to both the team and other riders, and it will be interesting to see where we are this year. Our package is improved and there have been a few changes in terms of technical staff too. I am also more used to the electronics and tyres, which were new to me last year, and so I’ll be better prepared in that respect going into 2023. I’m very confident in continuing with the same team, and both they and I will do our best to support each other, trust the process and continue to learn race by race. The minimum aim is to finish every race inside the points. As for my team-mate, I shared the track with him a few times in the past, and then last year we started training and cycling together so I can say that we share a good relationship and similar goals, in that we both want to work hard and score strong results for the team.”
Eric Granado is also excited for his first full season in WorldSBK: “First I want to thank Midori and Honda for this opportunity. It’s also great to represent Brazil on the WorldSBK grid, following in the footsteps of Alex Barros. This next season will be an important one for me and the team, and I’m excited to get started. I know the Honda already, but the SBK spec is very different, so I’ll need to get used to this, the electronics in particular, but I’m ready to learn. Everything will be new to me, after many years in the GP paddock, and I’ll need to be physically prepared considering the intense weekend schedule, but I feel ready. I’ll be facing some new tracks, but the team has data of course, so we’ll do our best to be as prepared as we can be. It’s good that Hafizh already has experience of the bike and team, and I hope we can work well together to achieve our goals. I might need a little time to get used to the bike, tyres, tracks and everything but I intend to do my best from start to finish – I’m excited to see what we can do.”
Midori Moriwaki, Owner of MIE Racing, stated her delight at the new collaboration: “It is a real source of pride and satisfaction for the MIE Racing Honda Team to be able to announce a multi-year partnership with Petronas, a leading energy company and one that has been able to position itself among the most respected brands in motorsport. We have recently announced the expansion of our presence in the production-derived Championship with our Supersport team, as we take the next step in our project together with Petronas. One of the missions that has driven me over the last twenty years has been to try and give talent a chance to bloom, whether this be youngsters just starting out in the motorsport world or riders who were simply unable to financially support their dreams.”
As for WorldSSP, Tarran Mackenzie is relishing the opportunity: “I’ve had a great off-season and am looking forward to getting started. The goal was always to return to World Championship level and Midori and her team are now giving me that opportunity. It’s not going to be easy because there’s a lot of fast guys there, but I think starting in WorldSSP is a good move for me. I’ve been on the Superbike in BSB for five seasons now, but I think it’ll be good for me to ride the smaller and nimbler Supersport bike. I think this new Honda has great potential - we just need to take things one step at a time. On paper, I think it can be one of the strongest packages; I just need to get used to it after a few years on a Superbike. I can’t wait to get going.”
Teammate Adam Norrodin shared Mackenzie’s excitement; “I’m excited to be part of WorldSSP this season. I’ve raced in various paddocks including Moto2™ and Moto3™, but World Supersport is a brand-new challenge for me. I’m nervous of course but also excited, and this is my first time riding the bike, so I know I have a lot of work to do. I have high expectations. Honda hasn’t competed in WorldSSP class in the last couple of years, but it has been very successful in this Championship in the past, so we have a lot to live up to. I know that everything has been going well back at base, so I’m keen to see how we line up against the competition. I will fight as hard as I can and the aim is to be competitive, hopefully fighting on the front row.”
THE GOLDEN ERA CONTINUES: the talking stops now; enjoy Round 1 in style with the WorldSBK VideoPass!