HRC re-enters WorldSBK in new-look factory team
HRC to collaborate with Althea and Moriwaki while fielding Camier and Kiyonari.
Honda Racing Corporation (HRC) is set to re-enter the Motul FIM Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK) in 2019 with a new-look factory team, announcing the news at the EICMA show in Milan, Italy.
HRC is set to collaborate with Althea and Moriwaki as they field Leon Camier and Ryuichi Kiyonari aboard the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2, receiving full factory support from the Japanese manufacturer.
Camier will be sticking with the machine for a second season in a row, and after a strong start to his campaign with the Fireblade before dealing with injury setbacks, he’s eager for what awaits in 2019.
“I am really excited, this is a massive opportunity and it’s massively exciting,” said Camier. “For HRC to come back into world superbike is incredible, and I’m really looking forward to getting started. The level of WorldSBK is really high, a lot higher than people realise, Rea has set the bar really high.
“Our plan is it improve and take it to Kawasaki at some point, we need to be competitive from the off. It’s a new team with new things coming together and a lot of things to work on. I feel the potential is there to be knocking on the podium.”
Next year will mark the return of Japanese ace Ryuichi Kiyonari, who’s set make his first WorldSBK start since 2009, when he was last on the grid with Honda.
“First I am a bit surprised are HRC coming back to superbike, and I am surprised HRC called me,” Kiyonari explained. “It’s been 10 years since I have ridden in WorldSBK, I am very happy to join this big project. I have two years of experience in WorldSBK – in 2008 and 2009 and it’s very competitive. It’s not easy to finish in the top six, but we have a good bike and a good team, if I can do a good job I hope I can get good results.”
The announcement marks the first time a factory Honda squad has been involved in the Superbike World Championship since 2002. Honda’s previous WorldSBK efforts were most recently operated by the Red Bull Honda squad, which received support from Honda Pro Racing.