Yes, we’ve seen that bucking capacity classes is a proven way to get a leg up against the competition, but surely it’s never been done so successfully as with the original 893cc Honda FireBlade in 1992.
The Blade actually started life as a reject. Honda developed it as a 750cc inline four, based vaguely on the little-known CBR750F Hurricane, as an alternative option to the V4 race bike project that would become the RC30. It never reached production in that form but was revived when Tadeo Baba legendarily came up with the idea of boosting its capacity. By completely ignoring the race classes of the time, he was able to come up with a road-only superbike that was vastly better than any of its rivals. As light as the 750 it was originally conceived as, it had power that was close to that of period 1000cc machines that were vastly heavier.
We’re unlikely to ever see a superbike that gets such a big advantage over its competitors, but Ducati’s new Panigale V4 shows that Baba’s 25-year-old idea can still be applied with devastating effect.