Honda rules out new WSBK homologation for 2023
Honda will not homologate an all-new bike for the 2023 World Superbike season as it continues to work on refining the "details" of its current Fireblade challenger.
The Japanese manufacturer has made slow progress since its full works return to WSBK in 2020 with its current CBR1000RR-R challenger, which has only undergone minor upgrades in the interim.
Honda did homologate a refreshed version of its bike for the current season with revised cylinders, crankshaft, air filters, airbox, throttle body and brake calipers, with series regulations heavily restricting development outside such updates.
But a full 'evolution' version of the CBR1000RR-R in the mould of BMW's M1000RR or Kawasaki's 2021-spec ZX10-RR has yet to appear.
Honda team boss Leon Camier told Motorsport.com that the Japanese manufacturer will continue to try and extract the most from its existing bike concept for at least one more season in 2023.
"There won't be any new homologation next year," clarified Camier. "But for sure the reason to be in this championship for a lot of manufacturers is to develop their street bike. For us of course it's the same.
"Within the rules it's quite difficult to make big changes, the rules are quite constricted. But for sure [we have improved] many details. I can't name them, there are so many.
"There are some things can we do within the rules, like swingarms, links, triple clamps and engine work of course, the electronics have changed a lot, little details of the bike everywhere have improved."
Despite only bringing minor updates for 2022, an all-new rider line-up comprising rookies Iker Lecuona and Xavi Vierge combined with a switch to Showa suspension and Nissin brakes has yielded an upturn in form for Honda, with Lecuona sitting sixth in the standings at the halfway point of the year.
Asked where Honda would be focusing its energies to improve its current package, Camier replied that "horsepower is not a problem" before elaborating: "Mainly on the turning side and the chassis side.
"There are a few parts involved in that; it's not just one area that creates turning from a bike," he added. "Turning is something we need to improve for sure and then refining a few other little details with grip and small things."
Early progress in Honda's WSBK return was hindered by the onset of the global coronavirus pandemic, which slowed down the rate of development while also disrupting the marque's testing plans.
However, Camier - who has made multiple visits to Japan this year to support Honda's successful Suzuka 8 Hours attack - says that with the country slowly opening up again, COVID-19 can no longer be used as an excuse for underperformance in WSBK.
"We've had our two main technicians from Japan from all season, and [Tetsuhiro] Kuwata-san, head of operations for HRC, has been to many races, so for us it's been more back to normal, for sure," he said.
Bautista thinks MotoGP talk distracted Razgatlioglu in WSBK
Pedercini signs rookie Gutierrez for Magny-Cours, Catalunya
Iker Lecuona has expressed his frustration that tyre longevity issues prevented him from capitalising on Honda’s first World Superbike pole position in six years last weekend at Barcelona.
Jonathan Rea and Toprak Razgatlioglu remain defiant about their World Superbike title hopes despite conceding more ground in the championship to a dominant Alvaro Bautista last weekend at Barcelona.
Alvaro Bautista made it a hat-trick of World Superbike victories on home turf at Barcelona with an imperious ride to his 11th win of the season in Sunday's finale.
Ducati’s Alvaro Bautista extended his lead in the World Superbike Championship with victory in the Superpole race in Barcelona, as Toprak Razgatlioglu missed the podium for a second race running.