Honda presented its 2014 World Superbike and Supersport team, including the new CBR1000RR SP racebike in a presentation at the Motor Bike Expo in Verona, Italy.
Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam are returning in the Pata Honda team colors to ride the CBR1000RR SP in the WSBK class while Michael van der Mark and Lorenzo Zanetti will ride the CBR600RR in the WSS championship.
Last season was disappointing for Honda, with both Rea and Haslam missing significant time due to leg injuries. Haslam should be fully recovered from his broken leg while Rea says he still has discomfort walking but is fine when riding. Last season, Rea had one win and four podium finishes but missed the last nine races en route to a ninth-overall finish. Haslam missed seven races due to injury and finished 13th and missed out on any podium finishes for the first time in his WSBK career.
It’s clear that 2013 wasn’t a great year for us – the riders got injured quite heavily but, in a way, that allowed us to step back and review the whole situation, looking at the bike and what we would be needing for the coming season,” says Ronald ten Kate, Pata Honda team manager. “So, we’ve had a big development plan and brought in a lot of parts for the bike. The electronics have been upgraded massively over the winter and we’ve got a good testing program, so I think we can say we’re better prepared than ever before.”
Ten Kate also says the new SP is an improvement on the last season’s CBR1000RR Fireblade superbike.
“The new Honda Fireblade SP is good step forward, especially for road riders and those taking it on to the track,” says Ten Kate. “We’re already using a lot of that upgraded technology like suspension and brakes, and the engine improvements will be useful, too. We’re pulling out all the stops and with four talented and determined riders, I firmly believe that we can compete for race wins this season and even two championships.”
Honda had more success in the Supersport class last year, with van der Mark and Zanetti both finishing in the top five. Both riders praised the updated electronics to the CBR600RR,
“We have already tested the CBR600RR and there have been a lot of improvements which we noticed immediately,” says van der Mark. “The team has overcome some of the big problems we had last year with some new software updates so we can head into the new season with some confidence. I was very happy with my first season in World Supersport and to get on the podium in my first race at Phillip Island was fantastic.”