The Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP's 'Born to Race' development ethos has resulted in a Super Sport machine with an unwavering focus on circuit riding and unprecedented levels of performance and control.
Leaning heavily on the engine and chassis technology of the RC213V-S 'street-legal MotoGP machine' and with aerodynamics drawn from the RC213V MotoGP bike, the Fireblade is designed for speed.
What does all this mean on the track though? With the help of the Honda Racing UK British Superbike Team it was time to answer that question. Just how fast is the production version of the latest Fireblade?
Sitting side-by-side, it's clear that the CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP and its British Superbike counterpart have a lot in common – indeed by series regulations the British Superbike race machine must be developed from the homologated production machine. They share many core components identically, such as chassis and engine, but of course there are differences to the race machine designed purely for BSB competition, such as a 'spec' ECU, permitted changes to gearing, a minimum weight of 168kg and more revs.
So, armed with Honda Racing UK BSB star Glenn Irwin's #2 British Superbike and a standard CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP straight out of the showroom except for a set of the series' control Pirelli Diablo Racing slicks (SC0 compound), it was a shootout at Oulton Park.
Both laptimes came at the hands of Glenn Irwin, who rode the bikes on the same day and in the same conditions around Oulton Park's 2.69 mile / 4.33 Km International Circuit.
On the final lap of a run of six laps, Glenn set a lap time of 1'39.054 on the production CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP, just 2.872 seconds off the time he achieved on his British Superbike Fireblade.
Amazingly, Glenn's time on the standard CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP – still fitted with mirrors, standard toolkit and all ancillaries straight from the showroom – would have qualified him on the 11th row for the BSB Superstock Race at Oulton Park Circuit at the 2021 season opener, held just one month after this shootout.
Glenn Irwin, Honda Racing UK British Superbike #2
"From my experience today, it's blown my mind to see what a bike straight out of the showroom can do around a track and just how fast I could go on the standard Fireblade SP. The two bikes are very, very similar. It doesn't surprise me as I love this bike, but it's incredible. It truly was 'straight from the showroom' too with no setup time as it even took me a couple of laps to adjust the levers to make them more comfortable for me – with more time to get used to the conditions I am certain I could have gone even faster."
Havier Beltran, Honda Racing UK Team Manager
"The Born to Race philosophy that has gone into the CBR1000RR-R Fireblade is clear to see. Under BSB series rules we have to keep a lot of the standard parts for our British Superbike race machine, such as chassis and engine, and the production model makes such a good basis for a race bike because it's been designed from the start for speed on the track already. To achieve the laptime that Glenn did on a standard bike on slick tyres proves that and is absolutely mind-blowing."
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