2017 Honda Fireblade

Road racing – McGuinness update

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The full extent of John McGuinness’ injuries have been revealed following his crash during practice at the NW200.

The veteran broke his leg but has also been diagnosed with four broken vertebrae and has three broken back ribs. The injuries mean he will remain at Royal Victoria Hospital for around one week as part of the recuperation process and will wear a cast for up to six weeks in treatment for the vertebrae.

Honda Racing has received McGuinness’ Fireblade from the race organisers and will perform a detailed analysis of the bike and ECU data at its headquarters in Louth to work out why the bike’s throttle stuck open – as a result, the team has withdrawn from the Superstock and Superbike races at the North West 200.

The team will next be on track at Castle Combe in a couple of weeks’ time as part of its preparation for the Isle of Man TT.

Jonny Twelvetrees, team manager, said: “Unfortunately John’s incident at Primrose Hill during qualifying has resulted in quite a substantial injury to his right Tibia and Fibula. It is a real blow to John and the team, but he’s got an incredible amount of spirit and is in very good hands with the medical staff at the Royal Victoria Hospital.

“We now need to determine what happened and will sit out the Superstock and Superbike races, get back to Louth to analyse John’s bike and re-group ahead of our next test at Castle Combe in a couple of weeks before we head to the Isle of Man.”

Road racing – jammed throttle costs McGuinness and Honda dear at NW200

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A stuck throttle saw John McGuinness lose control of his Fireblade at the NW200, with the veteran crashing out of the Superbike practice session and breaking his leg in the process.

The technical gremlin struck as McGuinness entered Primrose corner, and the 43-year-old was taken to the Royal Victoria Hospital with a suspected broken right leg.

He has since had his tib and fib plated and will miss this year’s Isle of Man TT.

The crash has also played havoc with Guy Martin’s pre-TT preparations. The Lincolnshire maverick was using the NW200 as a practice for the TT, but his Honda Racing team withdrew Martin from the Superstock race on safety grounds.

The news marked a miserable opening to the NW200 for Honda – Bruce Anstey also withdrew from the Superstock race as ‘he wasn’t comfortable on the bike’.

Road racing – Martin signs for Factory Honda squad

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The fastest man to never win a TT has signed to race a new Fireblade for the Factory Honda outfit.

Martin was in talks with Neil Tuxworth to ride for Honda last year, with Honda desperate to see Martin on their machinery in 2016. Sources close to Martin revealed that the star was told he could name his price, but it isn’t money that drives Martin and he told Tuxworth so. Instead of a fat pay cheque, Martin said he’d race for nothing, so long as he could race the RCV, the road-going version of Marc Marquez’s bike.

Tuxworth left and contacted HRC, but the answer from the Japanese factory was that a road racing RCV wasn’t a possibility. And thus the talks between Tuxworth and Martin broke down.

However, Tuxworth believes Martin is the perfect rider to partner John McGuinness and continued to push the maverick truck mechanic to sign for his Honda Legends road racing squad.

Martin said: Neil [Tuxworth] has been talking to me for a while about joining the team, but I had a lot of thinking to do before I committed and said yes. I spent a lot of time on my push bike to and from work, thinking about what to do. I didn’t want to grow old regretting not giving the Honda a go, and the more time passes since making the decision, the more time I’ve thought it is the right decision.

“Honda is a great team and the Fireblade has always been a weapon on the roads, so with the new bike, I‘m keen to give it a go. We’ve got a busy testing schedule coming up and I’ve put some other stuff off to make time. John [McGuinness] is the man, I’ve got massive respect for him and I’m looking forward to racing on the Fireblade against him.”

The deal will see Martin ride the new Honda Fireblade in both the Superstock and Superbike races at the TT, and is also set to compete at the North West 200, Ulster GP, Southern 100 and some Irish meetings in the coming year.

Signing for the Factory Honda teams means Martin will ditch the spanners and focus solely on riding the new Fireblade, which may just free enough head space to allow him to take his maiden TT win.

It’s a big ask though – the bike is unproven. Watch this space…

 

 

Road racing – Martin makes shock return with Honda

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Guy Martin is making a shock return to the roads after signing a deal to ride the all-new Fireblade for Honda.

Honda had offered a ‘name your price’ contract last year, but the Lincolnshire maverick refused the offer, asking instead for a RCV213. Honda UK asked Japan but were unable to come to an agreement and the deal was dead in the water.

Or so we thought. Now it seems Guy has agreed terms to ride a 2017 Fireblade at the TT, although no details have been revealed about which team he’s riding for – the Honda TT Legends team or the Wilson Craig team.

And after sitting out last season altogether he’s got a point to prove.

New metal – Honda Fireblade

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One of the most eagerly-awaited sportsbikes of recent years has finally broken cover – the 2017 Honda CBR1000RR.

Honda has released two versions, the Fireblade, and the SP.

The new Blade isn’t the revolution we were expecting, think of it more as an evolution designed to bring the bike back on an equal footing with its rivals, which means there’s no new engine configuration (V4), ground-breaking technology or mindblowing performance figures.

However, the bike has been radically overhauled – power is up by 11bhp to 190bhp and a massive 15kg has been lopped off the bike’s weight, and this has led to a 14% increase in the Honda CBR1000RR’s power-to-weight ratio. The engine itself is a relatively unworked version of the existing unit, and the power hike is as a result of a higher compression ratio and revised cam timings, with the weight savings coming from the liberal use of magnesium, which is now used on the engine covers, and a titanium muffler and fuel tank.

Other changes include a stiffer swingarm and a new radiator design, which has allowed the bodywork to be much narrower.

The bike now features a plethora of electronic riding aids including traction control and engine braking management, and there’s also Öhlins semi-active suspension.

The SP is joined in the line-up by a track version – the SP2. Designed to appeal to racers and trackday enthusiasts, the limited edition Honda CBR1000RR SP2 features larger valves and lighter Marchesini wheels that are made from forged aluminum.

The SP and SP2 will be joined by a base model Honda CBR1000RR.

New metal – 2017 Honda CBR1000RR SP and SP2

One of the most eagerly-awaited sportsbikes of recent year’s has finally broken cover – the 2017 Honda CBR1000RR SP.

Honda has actually released two versions, the Fireblade SP and SP2 which it unveiled at INTERMOT.

The new SP isn’t the revolution we were expecting, think of it more as an evolution designed to bring the bike back on an equal footing with its rivals, which means there’s no new engine configuration (V4), ground-breaking technology or mindblowing performance figures.

However, the bike has been radically overhauled – power is up by 11bhp to 190bhp and a massive 15kg has been lopped off the bike’s weight, and this has led to a 14% increase in the Honda CBR1000RR’s power-to-weight ratio. The engine itself is a relatively unworked version of the existing unit, and the power hike is as a result of a higher compression ratio and revised cam timings, with the weight savings coming from the liberal use of magnesium, which is now used on the engine covers, and a titanium muffler and fuel tank.

Other changes include a stiffer swingarm and a new radiator design, which has allowed the bodywork to be much narrower.

The bike now features a plethora of electronic riding aids including traction control and engine braking management, and there’s also Öhlins semi-active suspension.

The SP is joined in the line-up by a track version – the SP2. Designed to appeal to racers and trackday enthusiasts, the limited edition Honda CBR1000RR SP2 features larger valves and lighter Marchesini wheels that are made from forged aluminum.

The SP and SP2 will be joined by a base model Honda CBR1000RR which will unveiled at EICMA later this year.