Troy Herfoss and Bryan Staring ride SP2 Fireblade for first time
Bryan Staring - Image by RM
Bryan Staring – Image by RM

Crankt Protein Honda riders Troy Herfoss and Bryan Staring got to a throw a leg over the new CBR 1000 RR Fireblade for the first time this week at Phillip Island.

Troy Herfoss - Image by RM
Troy Herfoss – Image by RM

The Australian media launch for the standard model Fireblade was held at the picturesque Victorian circuit on Thursday, and thus the pair had their first opportunity to experience the smaller, nimbler and more powerful new CBR 1000 RR for the first time.

2017 Honda Fireblade Launch - Phillip Island - May 2017 - Image by TH
2017 Honda Fireblade Launch – Phillip Island – May 2017 – Image by TH

Later in the afternoon both riders then went out on the only SP2 models in the country.

Bryan Staring - Image by RM
Bryan Staring – Image by RM

There are no race kit parts available for these bikes at the moment, and the team are also yet to have access to any of the software that will allow them to tailor the new traction control or engine brake control parameters beyond the settings available through the standard menu system. Which is quite extensive, and more than enough for any regular fast punter, but these boys aren’t all that regular…

Crankt Protein Honda Racing got to sample the new SP2 Fireblade for the first time - Image by TH
Crankt Protein Honda Racing got to sample the new SP2 Fireblade for the first time – Image by TH

As of now, Team Manager Shaun Clarke, has not even been able to delve into the actual tuning of the engine.  

Troy Herfoss and Crankt Protein Honda Road Race Team Manager Shaun Clarke - Image by TH
Troy Herfoss and Crankt Protein Honda Road Race Team Manager Shaun Clarke – Image by TH

It really is very, very early days with the development of the new machine, and today was very much baby steps, allowing the riders there initial familiarisation with the seating position, controls, pegs before then trying to tune themselves to the two-way quickshifter, traction control and throttle response. Which for the first time in Fireblade history has now gone to a throttle-by-wire system, the Honda is the last of the big-bore sportsbikes to make that transition away from traditional throttle cable actuation. 

Troy Herfoss - Image by RM
Troy Herfoss – Image by RM

The only deviations from a standard out of the box SP2 was the fitment of the suspension from the previous model SP Fireblades, as they raced at Winton.

Bryan Staring - Image by RM
Bryan Staring – Image by RM

The rear shock and fork internals swapped from their current racebikes fitted to the new machine for the day, but still on the settings from Winton.

Troy Herfoss - Image by RM
Troy Herfoss – Image by RM

No real attempts were made to set the suspension up for the fast and flowing Phillip Island circuit.  

Bryan Staring - Image by RM
Bryan Staring – Image by RM

Due to a shortage of SP2 spare rims, they also ran the wheels from their current race bikes.

Troy Herfoss was happy with the extra power of the new Fireblade - Image by RM
Troy Herfoss was happy with the extra power of the new Fireblade – Image by RM

The team have plans to test the SP2 again, and if the necessary software is available to set up the machines to the riders preferences ahead of the Darwin round of the ASBK Championship, we might then see the new bikes makes their competitive debut on Aussie soil their for the first time, when Australian Superbike heads to that Northern Territory round early in July. 

Troy Herfoss was impressed with the power of the standard engine at Phillip Island - Image by Trevor Hedge
Troy Herfoss was impressed with the power of the standard engine at Phillip Island – Image by Trevor Hedge