At the start of 2020, Honda Racing Corporation (HRC) returned to the Motul FIM World Superbike Championship (WSBK) as a full factory squad. Despite the season becoming shortened by the pandemic, Team HRC garnered valuable track time and experienced great success.
For the 2021 season, Team HRC will field two top riders, Alvaro Bautista and Leon Haslam, who will benefit further from Motul’s support as Official Lubricant Partner. The team hired former rider Leon Camier as the team manager as he hangs up his suit and boots stepping into the shoes as a team boss for the first time in the team he raced for in 2018 and 2019. Team HRC has also been continuing the development of the 2021 Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade race bike in coordination with Motul’s international research and development centers in Japan.
Team HRC and Motul have been developing high-tech synthetic lubricants such as the Motul 300V Factory Line Racing Kit Oil 2376H 0W-30 fully synthetic engine oil, which will was tailor-made for the CBR10000RR-R Fireblade race bike that will be used alongside the Motocool Factory Line and MC CARE range of products. The viscosity grade 0W-30, 100% synthetic lubricant yields a low traction coefficient thanks to Motul’s EsterCore Technology, generating a friction reduction and therefore providing a significant gain in engine power.
Leon Camier, Team Manager, Team HRC: “It was a hard decision to make the move from rider to team manager, but this opportunity to work with Honda and Team HRC made it significantly easier. I have a long experience in the WorldSBK championship and feel I can contribute to this exciting project. Last year was not easy for anyone as we know, and the development of the CBR1000RR-R Fireblade, a brand-new bike, was of course affected by the pandemic and the limited testing time. The bike was obviously pretty special though, immediately very fast, and a lot of work has now been done behind the scenes in recent months on every aspect of the bike. I think we can expect to make a good step as we fight for the best possible results.”
Leon Haslam #91, Team HRC Rider: “It’s been a tough winter and I’ve had to delay my training schedule to some extent, but I’ve kept very busy in recent months, spending time in Barcelona where I’ve been doing some flat track, minibike, trials and endurance riding. I honestly feel the strongest and fittest I’ve been and now I’m keen to get back on my CBR1000RR-R Fireblade. Last year was a big learning curve, with a new team, a new bike, and then a very short and intense season. But now, in our second year, we’ll have a lot more data available to us, so I hope we can start each weekend with a better base. That, combined with the continuing development of the bike, can help us take several steps forward. Everyone has been working so hard over the winter and I honestly can’t wait to get started. I think we can really start challenging this season.”
Alvaro Bautista #19, Team HRC Rider: “We’ve had a prolonged off-season of course, and that’s been a little strange, but I’ve done a lot of physical training and was also very busy at home because I became a father for the second time. I’m definitely looking forward to getting back to the racing now, and I’m pleased with the bike. There are no big changes but a series of small evolutions that should give us a better base setup. We’ve worked across many areas, particularly the electronics, and have focused on finding better rear grip. We’ll now use the upcoming tests to put everything together and try to have a better-balanced bike. It was hard to take any big steps last year due to the pandemic, but we were still able to score some strong results and podiums. We now have a year of experience behind us, and so if this season is more ‘normal’, I think we can fight for better results and hopefully race wins. I cannot wait to get started.”
Nicolas Zaugg, Motul Chief Value Officer: “We are delighted to be extending our great working relationship with Honda and HRC to WSBK. The collaborative vision and technological partnership we have developed together is the perfect example of Motul’s living laboratory philosophy…developing and testing experimental products in a racing application before offering them for sale to a wider customer base. It’s a win-win deal as far as we are concerned.”
Tetsuhiro Kuwata, HRC Director – General Manager Race Operations Management Division: “We are pleased to announce Motul as Official Sponsor of our factory Team HRC in the highly competitive 2021 FIM Motul Superbike World Championship, thereby extending the relationship between our brands and further strengthening what is a very important project for us, with our CBR1000RR-R Fireblade. Honda and Motul each boast a long and successful history in high-level motorsport competition around the world, both brands being driven by the constant pursuit of victory and by the strong belief that the racing arena is the ideal setting in which to grow our human capital and develop our know-how and technology. In doing so, we offer our customers the best possible products, while bringing joy and excitement to our fans around the world. We are living in a time of great challenges, but we are ready to fight to achieve our mutual goals, which we will pursue with determination, positivity, and confidence in the future.”