How the Honda CBR1000RR-R could spell the end of the V4 sports bike

In an interview with an HRC boss, water is poured on the idea of a V4 sports bike from Honda

Honda-RVF1000R concept cutaway

AT its official unveiling at the EICMA show in 2019, many of our readers were quick to point out that the latest, greatest sports bike from Honda wasn’t the V4, MotoGP derived wonder that they, and us in truth, had been longing for.

For many, the fact that the latest World Superbike challenger from ‘Big Red’ was a typical Fireblade. it featured an inline four-cylinder engine, no funky crossplane crank, no moveable winglets, and no rose-tinted gaze back to the heady days of the RC45.

Honda CBR1000RR-R SP video review

But in this industry, there’s no smoke without fire, and that’s equally true in this case. Honda, with almost total certainty, was developing a V4 powered sports bike, almost with the same timeframe for release as the new Fireblade. We saw the patents, and there were simply to many of them, with such a high level of detail to rule out them all being red herrings. The chances are, this V4 powered machine that we saw would have been ushered in to take over in the elite championships, had the new CBR1000RR-R not passed muster.

But as this interview with HRC boss, Tetsuhiro Kuwata and German website proves, the new Fireblade’s performance has already put to bed the idea of a V4 sports bike making a return to the Honda range, even at this early stage.

When quizzed upon whether or not a new generation Fireblade has what it takes to hit the top in championships like World Superbike, or whether it could be usurped by a new model, his curt reply quickly puts to bed the idea:

“Not only do I see it that way [that the new 'Blade can win in WSBK], our drivers also believe that our machine offers a lot of room for improvement. Honda is therefore not thinking about bringing another motorcycle. This machine has enough potential to achieve our goal.”

The new Honda is sitting in eighth and tenth in the current WSBK standings, although the machine’s fortunes in the hyper-competitive British Superbike Championship are much better. Here we see Glenn Irwin leading the way on 157 points and 35 ahead of closest rival Josh Brookes. While that doesn’t mean the championship is anywhere near cut and dried, it’s obviously enough to appease the HRC gods, especially given that this bike is still actually in its racing infancy.