13 Jul, 2017

Bradl: Suzuka 8 Hours Honda stronger than WorldSBK version

Stefan Bradl says his Honda Fireblade CBR1000RR SP2 at the Suzuka 8 Hours is more ‘user-friendly and faster’ than his Red Bull Honda.

Bradl: Suzuka 8 Hours Honda stronger than WorldSBK version
Bradl: Suzuka 8 Hours Honda stronger than WorldSBK version
Stefan Bradl says his Honda Fireblade CBR1000RR SP2 at the Suzuka 8 Hours is more 'user-friendly and faster' than his Red Bull Honda version used in the World Superbike championship, as the German gets up to speed during testing for the iconic endurance race.

HRC is again providing official support for Suzuka, in its bid to rescue a difficult maiden year for the new Fireblade with victory in the 8 Hours and thereby end two years of Yamaha domination.

The German rider has given rave reviews of the Suzuka-spec Honda Superbike compared to his frustrations trying to get the new bike up to speed in the World Superbike championship.

While his WorldSBK Honda is apparently without HRC parts and uses electronics supplied by Cosworth, HRC has taken an active role in development for the Suzuka Fireblade, which uses Magneti-Marelli electronics, while a number of HRC personnel have also joined the team to get the project up to speed during the test days.

“The first impression was definitely the motorcycle is more accessible, user-friendly and more mobile than the one I know from WorldSBK,” Bradl told Speedweek.com. “I know if Honda in Japan would take on our Superbike project in WorldSBK it would not be as tough as it has been. Honda already know how to do it.”

Bradl also feels the switch to Magneti-Marelli electronics has been the biggest area of improvement compared to his World Superbike machine, but believes Red Bull Honda won't trial the change until after the end of the 2017 season.

“I would also like to go with Magneti Marelli for the rest of the season,” he said. “But as far as I have been told the switch from Cosworth to Marelli won't happen before the tests in November.”

WorldSBK is considering moving to a single (Magenti-Marelli) ECU for 2018 anyway.

Bradl is taking on his maiden Suzuka 8 Hours for the #5 F.C.C TSR Honda squad with co-riders Dominique Aegerter and Randy de Puniet. The 2017 Suzuka 8 Hours race takes place on the 28th-30th July.


  • cruachan 13 Jul, 2017 15:21:49
    I don't think at this point he's saying anything that wasn't already known.

    Honda have struggled for years in SBK, having never put up a realistic challenge since Toseland won in 07 and only Jonny Rea really got to grips with it. The new bike was supposed to be a big improvement, but hasn't in SBK and question marks remain as to whether or not it is outright dangerous on the roads given that it's pretty much been withdrawn from competition since the McGuinness crash at the TT.

    It's also well known that Ten Kate get little to no support from HRC in Japan, so nu surprise that the Suzuka bike is different from the SBK ones.
  • PatrickD 17 Jul, 2017 13:19:11
    You wouldn't think Honda would have to lift too many fingers to apply an equivalent competitive resource to Kawasaki and Ducati.
    We should compare JR's utter dominance of this series in the last 3 years verses his inability to mount a credible title challenge in his Honda years prior. Electronics integration with the bike has been a stumbling block for almost 10 years. This is Honda!! It's been as bad a campaign for them as their F1 efforts.
    Let's face it, if they didn't have Marc Marquez, their entire top-level competion efforts could be considered downright embarassing. How did that happen?
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