Honda Racing UK has announced a brand-new project with Honda Motor Co., Ltd. – the Honda Superbike Challenge Program. Rolling out for the 2021 season, the new project will support racers competing in national championships worldwide, to take further steps in their racing careers.
Joining forces with Honda’s head office in Japan, the programme will see Honda Racing UK’s participation in the British Superbike Championship sit within Honda’s global racing activities from MotoGP, World Superbike and the All-Japan Championship.
As part of the ‘Honda Superbike Challenge Program’, Honda Racing UK have signed Ryo Mizuno for the 2021 Bennetts British Superbike Championship aboard the race winning CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP. Bringing a wealth of experience from the All-Japan series, as well as the Suzuka 8 Hours aboard Fireblade machinery, this will be the first time Ryo has raced on UK soil.
Honda Racing UK has enjoyed past success with Japanese riders, having won the British Superbike Championship three times with Ryuichi Kiyonari (2006, 2007, 2010) and Ryo too has championship titles to his name having won the All-Japan J-GP3 championship in 2015 and the All-Japan J-GP2 Championship in 2017.
Ryo’s teammate in BSB will be Glenn Irwin, who remains with Honda after a successful debut year with the team. During the 2020 season Glenn enjoyed a win and five podium finishes, eventually wrapping up the season fourth overall. Showing the potential of the new Fireblade Glenn led the title fight for the majority of the season and will be looking towards the title in 2021.
As well as a two-man team in the Superbike class, Tom Neave will continue in the Pirelli National Superstock 1000 Championship, where in 2020 he narrowly missed out on the title to finish runner-up. Throughout the shortened season, Tom scored the most race wins in the Superstock championship in what was an impressive debut year for the new Fireblade SP.
The team are busy preparing for the start of the 2021 Bennetts British Superbike Championship with official testing getting underway in April.
Havier Beltran, Honda (UK) Racing Team Manager, said: “This is a very exciting time for Honda Racing UK joining forces with Honda Motor Co., Ltd and will be great to have their support in what are uncertain times for everyone and not just in the racing world. Our participation in BSB will now sit within Honda’s global 2-wheel racing programme, which echoes past years when we had backing from HRC. It’s a great project to be involved with and we of course have a very good track record with Japanese riders, Kiyo won the title three times with us and Ryo brings a huge amount of experience and also talent with him. His lap times at the Suzuka 8 Hours last year were impressive and although the British circuits are very different, I think he will enjoy them and be competitive on the Fireblade SP.”
- Main image | Tom Neave, Ryo Mizuno and Glenn Irwin