Is a more track-focused Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP2 incoming?

An upgraded performance-focused Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP2 could be on the way as the firm looks to boost its fortunes in WorldSBK 

Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade

Honda could be preparing to reveal a racing focused Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade in the coming weeks in an effort to boost its fortunes in the WorldSBK Championship.

The latest generation of the venerable Fireblade has been in showrooms little more than 18 months but while it was designed with the express intention of reviving Honda’s success in motorsport after a few lean years, results have not met expectations

Indeed, while the new model is substantially more powerful than the previous generation Fireblade - rivalling the Ducati Panigale V4 R - in WorldSBK trim it has achieved just a single podium since its debut at the start of the 2020 season.

While it has achieved more plaudits at more of a stock national level, where the electronics’ packages are simpler or a control specification, rumours have emerged that suggest a ‘homologation special’ named the Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP2 could be on the way.

Set to be a model designed specifically for racing before being homologated by a limited production run of roadgoing models - much like the new BMW M 1000 RR - the SP2 is  unlikely to be more powerful, with the current bike proving one of the fastest in a straight line.

Instead, engineers would be tasked with improving the chassis and technical compliance to work with the electronics, in response to criticism from Alvaro Bautista and Leon Haslam that the bike lacks balance, an issue that has led to a series of accidents for the pair.

This wouldn’t be the first time Honda has deviated to an SP2 model having launched a Honda VTR1000 SP2 to be raced in the 2002 WorldSBK season, while the pre-HRC WorldSBK effort from Althea and Ten Kate Racing used an SP2 specification Fireblade.

THough Honda has won six WorldSBK riders’ titles, its last came 14 years ago in 2007 with James Toseland, while it most recent win was at Sepang in 2016 with the late Nicky Hayden.