EXHAUST PIPES AND SWINGARMS: Team HRC’s Jose Escamez reveals Honda upgrades for Misano test

Thursday, 30 May 2024 09:36 GMT

Honda’s 2024 season has been a struggle so far, but they are leaving no stone unturned to make gains as the season continues

The 2024 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship’s racing resumes in a couple of weeks and teams are utilising the tests between rounds to try to make as much progress as possible. After a challenging start to 2024, Team HRC tried new swingarms at the Cremona test and, at the Misano two-day test, will have new exhaust pipes as well as completing more work on the swingarm. At Misano, Team Manager Jose Escamez revealed more details about Honda’s upgrades and what they hope they’ll bring.

Honda’s best result this season has been a pair of tenth place finishes courtesy of Xavi Vierge (Team HRC), with teammate Iker Lecuona (Team HRC) missing races in Australia and the Netherlands through injury. At the PETRONAS MIE Racing Honda team, Tarran Mackenzie has been in the mix with the factory Honda riders as the season progressed and the team’s best result came at Assen in Race 2 with 11th place.

With Honda looking to find gains as quickly as possible, a new swingarm was introduced at Cremona for the WorldSBK team although it wasn’t new to Honda. It’s one that’s been used by the British Superbike Honda team and, with their riders present at Cremona, it was a good chance for the WorldSBK outfit to test it – Lecuona and Vierge gave their feedback in Italy. That swingarm will be on the bikes again at Misano, as will new exhaust pipes in the hope of better power delivery while the team will continue to work on the electronics of the CBR1000RR-R machine.

Discussing the upgrades, Honda team boss Escamez said: “A test is always important, especially for us in the situation we’re in right now. After the Cremona test, we were working on some parts of the chassis, especially the swingarm. Here, we want to try again to reconfirm or decline whether it works or not for our bike. We’re also going to try a new exhaust pipe configuration. It’s a new exhaust that we expect can help with our power delivery and the connection of the throttle with our riders. Pretty much, we’re focused on that. Of course, as we’re going to work on the exhaust, we’ll need to adapt our base maps and electronics and all those things. We’re going to try again the swingarm to make sure it works as we thought or not and the exhaust. We’ll keep, as always, working on the electronics which is a topic where we are struggling.”

With mixed feedback on the swingarm so far, Escamez also explained why they opted to bring it to Misano – a track that the riders, team and manufacturer are familiar with – rather than make a decision based solely on the feedback from last week’s test. With every upgrade vital when it comes to making gains, opting to bring changes to a second test can often be crucial when making decisions about whether or not to follow a certain direction.

Explaining the swingarm re-evaluation, Escamez said: “It’s a bit confusing. At some points, it looks better, and, in some others, it doesn’t. That’s why we want to try it again here. We’re not 100% sure it’s going to be better. It’s true that, as Cremona was a new track and changeable conditions, we think here it’s going to be the ultimate test just to reconfirm if it can be better or we can decline.”

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