Tommy Bridewell gets first taste of Honda Fireblade

Tommy Bridewell has made his unofficial Honda debut at the Portimao circuit in the Algarve region of Portugal ahead of his 2024 BSB title defence

Tommy Bridewell, Honda Racing UK BSB shakedown, Portimao 2023. - Honda Video/YouTube

Tommy Bridewell has been able to get his first taste of Honda machinery in Portugal, with the 2023 British Superbike champion spinning laps at the Portimao circuit.

Bridewell’s Portuguese outing - at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve, home of the Portuguese round of WorldSBK and MotoGP - saw him ride the 2023-generation Honda CBR1000RR-R, not the updated 2024 Fireblade SP whose European appearances have so far been seemingly limited to laps at the Circuito de Jerez-Angel Nieto for promotional content for its launch at EICMA last month, and to laps of the same circuit for Honda’s factory WorldSBK riders: Iker Lecuona and Xavi Vierge.

Anyway, back to Bridewell, and it was less than two weeks between him confirming his place at Honda Racing UK for 2024 and him heading out on track for the first time with the #1 plate he won with PBM Ducati last season.

A video produced by Honda shows Bridewell’s first impressions of the CBR1000RR-R. “To be honest, the main thing for me then was I rode around and thought ‘oh, this feels like my bike - already.’”

It is hard to read too much into Bridewell’s words from the video, which is understandably produced with the intention of not making Honda look bad, but the reigning BSB champion does seem to make it quite clear that he thinks he can fight for the podium when talking to his new crew chief, Chris Pike.

“I feel fast, and I feel good on entry, and I feel good on braking,” Bridewell told Pike. “100 per cent, I’d be fighting for the podium if we were to line up now. 100 per cent.”

It’s certainly fighting talk from Bridewell, but we won’t get a true idea of how competitive he and the new Fireblade - which, remember, he hasn’t ridden yet and won’t ride until March - will be in BSB-spec until the beginning of the 2024 season at Navarra next April.

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Image credit: Honda Video/YouTube