Honda SP2 Fireblade World SBK Launch
The famous Hangar-7 facility in Salzburg, Austria, provided the backdrop for the unveiling of the Red Bull Honda World Superbike team, which will charge into the 2017 WorldSBK season with Nicky Hayden and Stefan Bradl riding the brand-new Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2.
Centre stage were the two riders and their machines sporting the Red Bull logo and colours. Representatives from the media, Honda Motor Europe, sponsors, technical partners and WorldSBK organiser Dorna attended the much-anticipated event which heralded an exciting collaboration between Honda and Red Bull. Red Bull, for decades a key player in motorsports and action-sports, now enters the World Superbike paddock for the first time as a team title partner.
Taking the Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team colours to the track on board the all-new 2017 Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2 machine will be the World Champion duo of Nicky Hayden and Stefan Bradl.
Crowned MotoGP World Champion in 2006 with Honda when he was in the Red Bull stable, Hayden had a very positive rookie WorldSBK season last year, with one race win and four podium finishes.
“It’s a new year with a new bike, new title partner and new team mate, so there are definitely many changes ahead and a lot of things to look forward to. This is my second year in World Superbike so I hope to take the experience I made last year and take it up to the next level. I’m really glad to get back together with Red Bull, who I have represented in the past, and it’s a great opportunity for me. We have to focus now on the job ahead and work as hard as we can in order to be ready for the season opener. The level of the competition is higher than ever and we have a big job ahead of us, but everybody is really motivated and I cannot wait to get started.”
Stefan Bradl, Moto2 World Champion in 2011 and long-time Red Bull athlete, has already shown great speed during winter testing on the Fireblade, and is now looking forward to this exciting new challenge.
“I’m really looking forward to the new season! It’s a whole new experience for me, and a new championship where I’ve never raced before. It’s going to be a very interesting partnership with Honda and Red Bull, which is undoubtedly an amazing brand, and one that has been supporting me for my whole racing career. I’m really happy to be a Red Bull athlete and even happier now that it has also become the team’s title partner. We have the chance to represent the brand in each and every event all around the world, so I’m really excited about that. We have a new Fireblade for the season, so it will take a little bit of time to dial it in but we’ll do our best to take it to the top as soon as possible. All in all it’s a great project and step by step we will make it a successful one.”
Marco Chini – Honda’s WorldSBK Operations Manager
“This new season comes with a lot of anticipation for several good reasons: we have a new title partner in Red Bull, we will field the new Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2 and put it in the hands of two incredibly gifted and experienced in Nicky Hayden and Stefan Bradl. We are all extremely motivated for this new chapter and committed to battle at the sharp end of the field. I would like to personally thank all sponsors, partners and everyone involved for helping make all of this possible. I’m confident that 2017 is going to be a great year for the Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team.”
Ronald ten Kate – Honda WorldSBK team manager
We are all very excited about our new venture as the Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team. The start of the season in Australia is just around the corner and we are working extremely hard to be ready for the racing debut of the all-new Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2. The bike is a welcome arrival and a big step forward in terms of performance potential. Although it’s still early days, we have a full-scale plan of development in order to get it to the front. Nicky and Stefan are two of the best riders in the world and I’m sure they will extract the maximum from it!