Honda will meet its 2020 WorldSBK rivals before season opener

The much anticipated Honda CBR1000RR-R is set to make its first public appearance in the upcoming 2020 WorldSBK test in Jerez on 22 January 

Honda CBR1000RR-R SP

Honda will measure itself against its 2020 WorldSBK rivals for the first time later this month by joining the private pre-season test in Jerez, Spain.

The manufacturer has so far opted to swerve any direct comparisons between its brand-new, much anticipated Honda CBR1000RR-R and its WorldSBK rivals Ducati, Kawasaki, BMW and Yamaha, opting instead to test behind closed doors away from the spotlight.

However, at least the two factory Honda Fireblades will be rolled out in Jerez later this month to go up against the stopwatch officially for the first time, with Alvaro Bautista and Leon Haslam set to perform.

The Jerez test will be held on 22/23 January with another outing planned for Portimao on 26/27 as the 2020 WorldSBK ramps up for the opening round in Australia on Feb 29/March 1. Official pre-season testing will take place at Phillip Island in the week leading up to the curtain raiser.

Alvaro Bautista

What’s Honda’s benchmark for the Jerez test?

It can only be considered a positive sign that Honda is deciding to reveal some of its hand long before the start of the 2020 WorldSBK season, not least because of the great efforts it went to at Portimao and Aragon to ensure no information about its first touch reached the press.

While testing is exactly that meaning we won’t really get to see where the teams are until Australia, this will be a great opportunity to get a sense of what we can expect from the Honda CBR1000RR-R package.

Indeed, there is a lot of anticipation riding on this rebooted effort. Honda’s WorldSBK success rate have dwindled markedly over the years but since this new Fireblade is being developed with racing firmly in mind – explaining the big jump in power output to 210hp – and HRC being brought on board to sprinkle the magic that has taken it to multiple MotoGP titles, it is clearly going bigger than ever.

While Honda will likely play down their expectations of success from round one, Bautista’s success out of the box with the Ducati Panigale V4 R ensures that won’t stop many anticipating big things from the new Fireblade straight away.