Can a production bike compete against a superbike on the track?by Allyn Hinton, on LISTEN 03:40
Honda rolls out its showroom CBR1000RR-R SP in a head-to-head matchup with its very own closed-circuit Fireblade racebike, both piloted by none other than UK BSB rider Glenn Irwin on his very own superbike from Honda’s British Superbike team. The stage was set and players put into place on the Oulton Park track.
Can a production bike off the showroom floor compete?
The only change to the civilian version made ahead of this contest was to swap out the factory hoops for racing slicks.
Side-by-side, it’s easy to see the continuity of design as the “CBR” sports aerodynamic features are taken from the RC213V MotoGP machine. What isn’t so obvious at a glance is the chassis and drivetrain underpinnings that are drawn from Honda’s street-legal RC213V-S. You might expect this matchup to be a David v. Goliath situation, if for no other reason than one bike is a bona fide race machine while the other is destined for public roads. All of the bits and bobs you’d expect on a streetbike with the mirrors installed and toolkit aboard, the only change to the civilian version made ahead of this contest was to swap out the factory hoops for racing slicks.
The results from the Oulton Park race
It took Glenn a minute to get dialed in to the bike, but his sixth and last lap set a time of 1'39.054.
The contest took place on a single day, ridden by a single pilot, under the same conditions. It took Glenn a minute to get dialed in to the bike, but his sixth and last lap set a time of 1’39.054, which is amazingly only 2.872 seconds slower than that set on his race bike.
“The Born to Race philosophy that has gone into the CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP is clear to see,” says Havier Beltran, Honda’s UK race team manager. “Under BSB series rules we have to keep a lot of the standard parts for our British Superbike race machine, such as chassis and engine, and the production model makes such a good basis for a race bike because it’s been designed from the start for speed on the track already. To achieve the laptime that Glenn did on a standard bike on slick tires proves that and is absolutely mind-blowing.”
Post-race impressions from the pilot
"...it's blown my mind to see what a bike straight out of the showroom can do around a track and just how fast I could go on the standard Fireblade SP.”
"From my experience today, it’s blown my mind to see what a bike straight out of the showroom can do around a track and just how fast I could go on the standard Fireblade SP,” says UK BSB rider Glenn Irwin. “The two bikes are very, very similar. It doesn’t surprise me as I love this bike, but it’s incredible. It truly was ’straight from the showroom’ too with no setup time as it even took me a couple of laps to adjust the levers to make them more comfortable for me – with more time to get used to the conditions, I am certain I could have gone even faster.”
Needless to say, the comments from Mr. Irwin are very high praise indeed. Considering the source and the subject, I’d say this bodes well for Honda’s immediate future, at least among its Fireblade models. Honda caters, at least partially, to the more race-tastic rider base, so a bike such as the CBR1000RR-R SP is sure to fetch plenty of attention, even if you’ll never do it justice on public roads.
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