Honda Racing

Road racing – Martin quits Honda

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Guy Martin has called time on his Honda road racing career after just six months, with the team struggling to get the new Fireblade fit for the roads.

The move is in stark contrast to the moment he joined the team earlier in the year when he was unveiled as team-mate to TT legend John McGuinness.

However, the new bike has been beset with electronic problems – John McGuinness suffered serious injuries when the throttle stuck open during Superbike qualifying at the NW200, and Martin then had a huge crash at the TT after experiencing what he described as ‘a boxful of neutrals’.

The team withdrew the bike from the TT and even though Martin tested at Cadwell a fortnight ago, he still coundn’t gel with the bike he labelled ‘a Jonah’. He said: “I went into the year right excited about the new Honda. I thought it would be great straight away and so did the team. I soon realised that it needed a lot of developing. It will be great, but it needs time and I’ve got loads of other projects going on, that I’d rather use that time for.

“I didn’t get involved to develop a bike over months and years – I was told I’d have a bike capable of winning straight away and that’s why I couldn’t turn down the opportunity.

“The TT was a bloody disaster. Aside from walking the dog and racing the Mugen, I didn’t enjoy it. It was clear even before that we were going to struggle and then it turned into me really being a test rider, which I did, but after we did more testing at Cadwell a few weeks back, I said to the team the bike won’t be competitive at the Ulster Grand Prix. They decided to withdraw me from the event, although they didn’t tell me, which is OK as the decision was made for me.

“There’s no bad feeling. Neil Tuxworth has been upfront with me from the start and it’s a shame for everyone that the new bike hasn’t worked. I know how much effort I put in and so do the team, so no regrets but I’ve got no plans to do anymore road racing on the Hondas this year.”

The father to be revealed that he will still race, but on his own terms. He said: “I’ve not given up on racing or road racing, there’s no unfinished business and I want to race classics and oddball stuff. All I’ve been thinking about recently is Pikes Peak and any spare time my brain has had is about Pikes Peak on 4 wheels. That job is down to me and if it doesn’t work, it’s my fault and I like that. Nigel Racing Corporation (NRC) current plans are preparation for Pikes Peak and classic racing but the plans can change with the wind.”

Road racing – Martin gels with new Honda CBR1000RR SP2

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Lincolnshire road racing maverick Guy Martin has had his first taste of the new CBR1000RR SP2 as he continues his preparations for his return to road racing with the factory backed Honda Racing outfit.

The Kirmington lad joined team-mate John McGuinness for the shakedown at Castle Combe, and while Martin seemed to gel with the new Fireblade, an impressive feat considering he has switched rubber from Metzeler to Dunlop, McGuinness suffered a broken thumb after crashing on the second day of testing.

Honda Racing boss Neil Tuxworth said: “The bikes arrived later than expected and good progress is being made getting them ready to race. Considering the mechanics were still working on them the night before the test we are very happy with where we are.

“With the road bikes running kit ignition they are easier to set up than the BSB racebikes which run on Motech systems. We will come back to Castle Combe for another test in a few weeks’ time and that will be important as both bikes will be running full spec.”

 

Road racing – Honda duo set for roads campaign

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Honda Racing’s John McGuinness and Conor Cummins have been in action this week with a two-day test at Castle Combe in preparation for the start of their road-racing season.

The first day of the test saw the Honda squad greeted with mixed weather conditions, but inbetween the snow and rain showers the team were able to gain good track time. Wednesday saw a full day on track, where McGuinness and Cummins were able to try different settings on their Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP machines.

Both riders tested different tyre compounds, electronics and suspension options to fine-tune settings ahead of the upcoming North West 200, which is being held from May 10 to 14.

Many racers regard Castle Combe as the perfect testing ground for the road racing season, thanks in part to its bumpy surface.

McGuinness, who is looking to add to his haul of 23 TT wins, said: “It has been a really solid test this week we had a few things to work through, which we managed and it’s all been really positive.

“It’s the same CBR I love and adore, but we can’t stand still as the competition is really strong so we have to make a few small changes here and there so we’re ready. I’m feeling great at the moment and I’ve been faster here than ever before, so I’m feeling really confident. I’ve got a great package with the team, the CBR and there’s no reason not to bring any trophies home this year.”

Tesm-mate Conor Cummins admitted the test had been hard work as the team looked to get a decent base setting for his assault on the roads. He said: “We had quite a bit to work through over the test with different settings for the electronics, engine and also the suspension but I’m leaving here quietly confident with what we’ve achieved, and just can’t wait to get racing now.”

 

WSBK – Rea wins action-packed Race One at Assen

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Race One at Assen saw a tantalising battle at the front as four riders pushed themselves and their bikes to the limit as they chased the win.

When the red light went out polesitter Tom Sykes got off the holeshot, with his teammate Jonny Rea and Ducati’s and Chaz Davies close behind, followed by Sylvain Guintoli on the Yamaha and home town hero, Dutchman Michael Van der Mark on the Honda.

Rea snatched the lead on lap two, and the leading trio of Rea, Sykes and Davies set a blistering pace, pulling a second’s lead on Guintoli, Van der Mark and Honda team-mate Nicky Hayden.

Van der Mark clearly had the bit between his teeth and a podium in his sights, overtaking Guintoli and closing the gap to the leading trio.

Davies then got the better of Sykes and then Rea, moving temporarily into the lead, before Rea ran wide in the sixth lap, allowing Sykes and Van der Mark to get by. This error by the world champion means there were five riders from three different manufacturers all within just over a second of each other – Davies on Ducati, Sykes on Kawasaki, Van der Mark on Honda, Rea on Kawasaki and Hayden on Honda.

Van der Mark struck in the eight lap, overtaking Sykes and moving into second place. The move clearly unsettled Sykes, who outbraked himself in Turn One on the next lap, launching his bike spectacularly into the gravel trap.

The battle for the front ignited at the start of lap 17, when Van der Mark made his move on the first corner to overtake Rea, who retaliated a bit later to take back the position. At the end of the same lap, Rea then attempted to get the better of Davies, but his efforts were thwarted and he was forced to fend off the Dutchman again in order to hang onto second place.

The three-way tussle continued on the next lap, with Rea overtaking Davies who was relegated to second place and was then forced to yield another position to the flying Dutchman Van der Mark’s Honda.

The Honda pilot had his sights set on the top step of the podium at all costs and in the 19th lap he moved into the lead, overtaking Rea, but then he went long and the Northern Irishman took it back. The young Dutch rider’s dreams were then shattered during the penultimate lap when he crashed out, sending his bike hurling toward the safety barriers.

Rea and Davies battled down to the last corner for the top step of the podium, with the Ducati rider just two tenths behind the Kawasaki as they crossed the line, and Hayden clinching third place more than two seconds down the road.

Race 1 standings:

1) Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team)

2) Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati)

3) Nicky Hayden (Honda World Superbike Team)

4) Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse)

5) Jordi Torres (Althea BMW Racing Team)

6) Lorenzo Savadori (IodaRacing Team)

7) Markus Reiterberger (Althea BMW Racing Team)

8) Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WSBK Team)

9) Román Ramos (Team GoEleven)

10) Lucas Mahias (Pedercini Racing)

BSB – frontrunner Linfoot out after breaking wrist at Brands

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Honda Racing’s Dan Linfoot will miss this weekend’s BSB round at Brands Hatch after breaking his wrist in free practice one.

Honda confirmed Linfoot suffered a broken wrist in a crash during FP1 at the Brands Hatch Indy circuit and will miss this weekend’s round and the next round in a fortnight’s time at Oulton Park.

 The news will come as a massive blow to the 26-year-old rider, who had got off to dream start after grabbing fourth and second place finishes at the season opener at Donington.
A statement issued by his Honda team said he was to undergo surgery at London’s Kings College Hospital and that after a period of recovery he should be fit enough to race at the fourth round at Snetterton in June.

BSB – Tinmouth joins Factory Honda BSB team

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Jenny Tinmouth has been given the biggest opportunity of her career after signing for the Honda Racing team. The Ellesmere Port rider will contest the premier class aboard the Superbike-spec Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade, with team-mates Dan Linfoot and Jason O’Halloran.

Tinmouth has been a ground-breaker in the championship since first joining the series in 2011and became the first female rider to score a point in MCE BSB. The Ellesmere Exocet has also experienced success at the Isle of Man TT races, where she currently holds the record as the fastest female around the Mountain course with an average lap speed of 119.9455mph.

Tinmouth will become a full-time member of Louth-based Honda Racing, competing alongside O’Halloran and Linfoot for the entire 12-round championship as they make their return to the series after spending 2014 working on the development of the CBR1000RR Fireblade. Honda won the championship in 2013 with Alex Lowes.

Tinmouth said: “I’m absolutely over the moon and cannot believe I’m riding for Honda Racing. The offer was totally unexpected. I went for a meeting with Nick [Campolucci] to discuss the season and had a few cheeky questions I wanted to ask about Honda helping me out with bikes, and when the offer came I couldn’t believe what I was being asked. I went into the meeting thinking it would just be some help and came out as a full-time Honda rider. It’s always been my ultimate dream to ride for the team and to have the opportunity this year is just amazing. I’m riding the Honda BSB bike for the first time during a team test in March and I can’t wait.”

Honda Racing team manager, Havier Beltran, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for Jenny being part of the Honda Racing team, alongside Dan and Jason. She’s been on Hondas for a couple of years now running her own team. This year will be a huge learning curve, getting used to the team and the bike, but will also really push her in the series and hopefully generate some good results. It will also be a learning curve for us, but we’re excited for the challenge. We’ve been aware of Jenny for a while now, not only being the only female in the BSB series but also her successes at the Isle of Man, and can’t wait to see her on the bike at the first test in March.”

Nick Campolucci, Head of Motorcycles at Honda (UK) commented: “There’ll be a focus on Jenny because she’s a female racer, of course. After all, she’s the first and only woman rider to compete in British Superbikes. But she’s a proven competitor and current Isle of Man TT lap record holder. Jenny joins the team on merit and we are very pleased that we have the opportunity to work with her.

“Honda has served up a number of firsts when it comes to broadening the representation of women in motorsport and Jenny is the latest female member of the Honda Racing family. She joins British motocross sensation Natalie Kane, and Laia Sanz, who achieved the highest ever placing in this year’s Dakar Rally, by a female rider, finishing ninth overall in this year’s race.”