The team was notably absent from the first two tests of the new year. To whom do we refer? Moriwaki Althea Honda Racing of course, the squad competing in this year's championship with the support of HRC. Unlike Yamaha, Kawasaki and BMW, the team decided not to travel to Jerez and Portimao for the double-header January test session, meaning that Genesio Bevilacqua's team fielded the only Honda, as young rider Alessandro Delbianco builds confidence with the Fireblade.
The team instead opted for a very private test in Thailand at the Buriram track, which will host the second round of the championship come March. There have been rumours about a possible customs problem perhaps compromising the team's test schedule. Apparently these did not amount to anything, in that the Moriwaki Althea Honda Racing is on track at Chang for this highly-awaited test.
Leon Camier and Ryuichi Kiyonari are tasked with testing all of the material made available in order to be ready in time for the Phillip Island race, the opening championship round taking place over the last weekend of February. For Moriwaki, the winter has been something of a race against time, as the Superbike project was only confirmed at the last minute, resulting in a busy few weeks in which to assemble the CBR-RR bikes. The same bike that Alessandro Delbianco has already used during tests at Jerez and Portimao, with a few different specifications compared to the bikes that Camier and Kiyonari will ride, particularly Brembo brakes as opposed to the Nissin component used by Moriwaki, the same that BMW will be using for Sykes and Reiterberger.
There is no shortage of interest, also because Leon's season got off to a good start last year, before an accident at Aragon put a spoke between his wheels. Alongside the Brit, talented Japanese rider Kiyonari, a figure of reference in HRC in terms of bike development, who returns to the championship after almost ten years away. Will this pairing be enough to launch the Fireblade SP2? We'll find out in two weeks' time, when all teams will line up at Phillip Island for the final test prior to the championship's opening round.