Honda’s electric dirt bike was fast straight out of the box

The Honda CR Electric Proto electric dirt bike made an impactful debut at the eighth round of the 2023 All-Japan Motocross Championship

Trey Canard, 2023 All-Japan Motocross. - Honda Racing Corporation

Round eight of the All-Japan Motocross Championship saw an historic step made by HRC, as it pushed for victories with its Honda CR Electric Proto.

The Honda CR Electric Proto made its debut with 2010 AMA Pro Motocross 250MX champion (and current American Honda test rider) Trey Canard at the controls, and showed strong speed, capable of fighting at the front.

Canard was in a fight with Yamaha works rider Jay Wilson throughout the day, and although Wilson came out on top in the end it was clear that the CR Electric had potential.

Honda’s electric bike made the holeshot in two out of the three races, and Canard led the first two-and-a-half minutes of the third and final moto before a crash ruled him out of the race. 

Honda’s intention for the weekend was to gather data on what is a new racing motorcycle for the brand, but its immediate competitiveness is an indication of its solid base.

Trey Canard said: “This weekend was definitely a big challenge for me but it was a great race for our development. Each time I was on the track we improved the motorcycle and the CR Electric Proto team adapted to the challenge.

“We had some shines of brilliance as a team, the starts being one of them with two of the three holeshots. There were also some sections on the track that were very impressive and that makes me excited for the future of this motorcycle.

“I’m disappointed to not finish all of the motos after all of the hard work the team has put in but I think we showed that the potential of the bike is quite high especially for our very first attempt at racing. I’m grateful to be a part of this effort and I’m very proud of each and every person who has worked so hard.”

Taichi Honda, Team HRC Team Manager, said: “First of all, I would like to thank the development team and everyone involved for preparing the CR Electric Proto to be ready for competition in such a short time.

“I would also like to thank Trey Canard for showing his potential even though he has only had a few tests.

“We had three heats for the first time and we will take what we learnt from each race and feed it back to the ongoing development of the CR Electric project.”

Motocross has generally been seen as an area of high potential for electric powertrains, because they need to last for ‘only’ 35 minutes in a top level competitive scenario (the All-Japan races are shorter at 15 minutes), and their relative silence in comparison to combustion bikes means that motocross tracks can avoid the complaints of nearby residents about noise.