The philosophy behind the new Honda Fireblade

We grab five minutes with the man in charge of developing the new CBR1000RR, to talk about the philosophy behind its development

The philosophy behind the new Honda Fireblade

A design sketch for the latest 'Blade

AT 3.30PM last Tuesday, the world’s motorcycle media was stood packed in front of Honda’s stand at Intermot.

No wonder – the new Fireblade was minutes away and after speeches from Honda’s European and Japanese top brass, the dramatic soundtrack began and the bike came in to view amid plooms of dry ice.

After the crowds has dispersed, we got up on stage to take a closer look around the new Fireblade SP2 before managing to grab a fleeting few minutes with Mr Masatoshi Sato, Large Project Leader for the new Fireblade, to discuss the ‘Total Control’ philosophy behind the latest incarnation of Honda’s flagship sportsbike. Here’s what he said:

It’s never been about making a race bike.

'We had a lot of planning meetings right at the very start of the Fireblade’s development and at that point we decided that we were not going all-out to make a race bike.

'Looking back through the history of the Fireblade, back 25 years to the first one, and you can see it was always about making a bike that everyone could enjoy riding on winding roads. It was a bike intended for pure handling joy, so we wanted to remain true to that tradition and stick to the roots of the original. That was why we decided to develop the bike in the way we have.'

We want the rider to be the true hero of the bike.

'I think the fact that we’ve always put the rider first is a large part of the reason the Fireblade has been so popular. The Fireblade has always been built in a such a way that mastering its handling and being able to control it yourself and find the best of your riding skills has always been eminently possible. A large part of the Fireblade’s success comes down to it being such an accessible sports bike - unlike any other.'

I want the SP to be popular and the SP2 to win races.

'I’ve got different hopes for the SP and SP2 Fireblades. The SP is the bike which anyone can ride and get the best out of. That’s not to say that you can’t have a good track day on the SP because you obviously can and it’s also built for that purpose but it’s an extension of the original Fireblade’s power-to-weight ratio philosophy and because of that, this new model will be popular with customers, as the Fireblade always has been.

The SP2 is a different concept and so has a different target. It’s the one I’d like to see winning races, because it’s been built to win races. Hopefully, with the SP and SP2, we’ll see both of those things happen.'