WATCH Honda CBR1000RR-R roar into life with Glenn Irwin at BSB test

The BSB-spec 2020 Honda CBR1000RR-R enjoys its first laps of the Almeria circuit with Glenn Irwin ahead of the British Superbike Championship season

Honda CBR1000RR-R

It’s an important few days ahead for the eagerly anticipated new 2020 Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade as it prepares to go head-to-head with its WorldSBK rivals for the first time… just before we here at Visordown get our own hands on it at a world premiere in Qatar.

Not to be outdone though, the latest iteration of the iconic Superbike has just burst out of the blocks in Spain as part of a private test involving the British Superbike Championship Honda Racing team.

Having taken delivery of a fleet of new bikes that it will race in the Superbike and Superstock BSB classes, as well as those that will compete on the North West 200 and Isle of Man TT, latest signing Glenn Irwin shook the bike down for the first time at Almeria last week.

And helpfully, they attached an on-board camera to mark the occasion, giving us a great chance to see how the bike behaves – and perhaps more excitingly – just how sweet it sounds. Thumbs up from us…

How important is the 2020 Honda CBR1000RR-R?

In racing terms at least, the new CBR1000RR-R is a crucial model for Honda having struggled to mount a challenge at the highest levels of Superbike competition for some years now.

In a WorldSBK context, Honda has not won a WorldSBK race since 2016 when Nicky Hayden was victorious in the wet at Sepang. Moreover, you need to go right back to 2014 for the last time a Honda rider – Jonathan Rea – was a regular at the top of the podium, and even further back to 2007 for its last title with James Toseland.

For 2020, Honda is going ‘all in’ with its Spanish-based HRC operation taking over to run the WorldSBK effort alongside its ultra-successful MotoGP team. It has signed Alvaro Bautista and Leon Haslam to lead the team, with the Fireblade set to run in public for the first time this week on 22nd January at Jerez.

In BSB, Honda have been more competitive with Andrew Irwin picking up a win in 2019, though it hasn’t mounted a successful title victory since Alex Lowes in 2013.

For 2020, the BSB Honda Racing team will pair the Irwin brothers up for the first time, with Tom Neave and Davy Todd leading its Superstock efforts.