WorldSBK is about to get more interesting this year as HRC unveils the 2020 Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP for their factory squad. Enveloped in HRC’s iconic tri-colour scheme, the race bikes were presented in Japan together with their star riders, Alvaro Bautista and Leon Haslam.
HRC and their riders are up against quite a few high-profile riders, but they seemed to be very confident in what the 2020 Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP can do when placed into the hands of Alvaro Bautista and Leon Haslam. After ‘escaping’ the clutches of Ducati and Kawasaki, both riders are looking into redeeming themselves this season.
According to Alvaro Bautista, “I’m very pleased to be part of what is such an important project for Honda and HRC. I see all the work that is going into it and feel very positive energy from everyone at the company and on the team. It’s a very important year for me too. We know that we face a big challenge and that we have a lot of work to do; we’re a new group that is growing together to reach the top as soon as possible. Our goal is to be strong and fast with the Honda, a very competitive bike that can undoubtedly achieve great results. I hope to have fun and entertain all our fans this season.”
As for Leon Haslam, “It all feels so real now we’re here in Tokyo. We’re at the Honda HQ and the first races are just around the corner; it’s a dream come true. I am extremely excited and also a little nervous, because I really want to do well, and know we have the potential to do that. We’re ready to work hard and do our very best to achieve strong results. As for the first race, we’re at one of my favourite tracks, Phillip Island, where I’ve been successful in the past. We’ll have to see with regards to the competition of course, but I admit I’m really looking forward to the opening round.”
They will also have to face the defending WorldSBK world champion, Jonathan Rea and his seemingly unstoppable Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR. Kawasaki is so confident with their rider-machine combo, they even approach Dorna to see if they can enter a MotoGP race as a wildcard entry. Yup, that happened.
Then there’s also the British Superbike champion, Scott Redding, who seems to have an ultra-awesome chemistry with the Ducati Panigale V4 R. His dominance in BSB bumped him into WorldSBK where he looks not only into bringing some positive results for his team but also to challenge the current ‘King of WorldSBK’, Jonathan Rea.
The first round of the WorldSBK 2020 season will begin at the end of the month (28 Feb – 1 Mar 2020) at Phillip Island for the Yamaha Finance Australian Round. The season opener will definitely be an epic occasion as we gauge who has the upper hand for the upcoming and long season ahead.