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Is this the 2012 Honda CBR600RR?

New patent could be a clue to what the new CBR6 will look like

THIS image from a new Honda patent show what appears to be a new inline four-cylinder sports bike, possibly the replacement for the ageing CBR600RR.

The first thing that sprung to mind on seeing the drawings was how much like a typical (Honda engined) Moto2 race bike they looked. But it doesn't add up that Honda would patent such a bike. Firstly, the firm has never shown much interest in fielding its own Moto2 chassis; as sole engine supplier it's guaranteed to win every race anyway. Secondly, there's little point patenting technology unless it has a future in production.

Don't take the styling of the bike in the pictures as being representative, since it may well be just a generic outline. The details that are being patented are in the design of the frame, which has additional bracing compared to a conventional beam chassis, the swingarm pivot design and the subframe. Importantly, all the patents make mention of reducing manufacturing costs – not something most race teams are concerned about.