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SBK, Bautista: "We haven’t made any particular changes, the CBR RR-R has potential"

"I have one more year of experience and now we have to win", Haslam: "My dad Ron is always with me on the track and he continues to advise and correct me"

SBK: Bautista: "We haven’t made any particular changes, the CBR RR-R has potential"


Expectations are high, as Honda aims to go better than a not particularly satisfying 2020. Alvaro Bautista is fully aware of the situation and is called upon to play a leading role in his second season with HRC colours.

In Japan they bet heavily on him a year and a half ago and now it is time to repay the manufacturer’s trust. In the press conference at the beginning of the season Alvaro was full of hope and confidence.

“Here we are – declared the #19 – on Wednesday and Thursday we will be involved in the first collective test of the new year at Barcelona and I am curious to see at what level we are compared to our rivals. During the winter we worked hard to develop the Honda, despite the regulation restrictions ".

Speaking of regulations, one wonders how much the bike has changed…

We have not made any particular changes, also because the Honda has great potential and perhaps it is the one that has the most of all. We have focused on the details, of course there are new components, as well as small updates, which will be evaluated here in Spain.

Bautista then went into further details on the development…

"We mainly focused on electronics, coordinating with Japan, for the development to go in the right direction. As I said, it was not necessary to revolutionize the project, but to make improvements that allow us to be more competitive ”.

This year Alvaro will have an extra year of experience behind him and he is fully aware of that…

“In 2020, it was hard to take any big steps due to the pandemic. The bike was completely new and we needed to stay on track to do the laps. Unfortunately, this was not possible, furthermore the difficulties related to development have been added. As we all know, it was not allowed to move technicians and engineers from Japan and development was slowed down. During this winter, however, we have worked hard and there have been some steps forward. In fact, we know what we want and what direction to follow to get important results ”.

For sure the goal is to win…

"Last year we managed to get a podium and now the goal is to do better, that is to try to fight for the victory and give that success that Honda has been missing for many years. In fact, we focused on the electronics, in order to have a more performing bike and introducing small changes in order to ensure better grip at the rear. I feel ready, I know I can fight for better results and hopefully race wins and in Barcelona we will see where we are ”.

Attention then shifted to the fact that Honda does not have a test rider, unlike Ducati who can rely on Michele Pirro.

“I believe that a test rider is not necessary in Superbike, since we are not in MotoGP where we see new fairings and frames every year. In Superbike, a test rider can become useful when you develop a new bike, such as the Ducati V4 compared to the V2. In that case someone like Pirro helps you to see the direction to follow ”.

There are less than two months to go to the start of the World Championship and Alvaro can’t wait...

“The more races there are, the better is it. I am happy that the World Championship starts at Aragon, a track that I like, just as I am thrilled to have so many races in Spain. For me it will be like racing at home ”.

One final comment concerned the vaccine…

“I have seen that in MotoGP riders and professionals have been vaccinated. Here in SBK I don't know what will happen. Certainly we must comply with all the measures to avoid contagion and be safe, in order to protect everyone's health ”.

Haslam: "I'm the fittest I’ve been and ready to have fun on the bike as my dad Ron tells me"

Picking up on Alvaro's ambitions is his teammate, Leon Haslam.

"I honestly feel the strongest and fittest I’ve been and now I’m keen to get back on my Fireblade – said the Briton - 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.

Now, however, it’s all down to the stopwatch…

“Here in Barcelona we will try to take another step forward. Compared to 2020 we have in fact managed to carry out a greater number of tests, which allowed us to put in the mileage, but above all to work on new and pre-existing data. Personally, I expect a competitive bike, because we have a clear direction to follow and a solid starting point ”.

At the end of May Leon will blow out 38 candles. He is a rider who does not lack experience…

“In recent years I have had the opportunity to race for different teams and as a result ride a lot of bikes. This was very useful for me, but above all for my team, because I can provide useful information to improve the CBR 1000 RR-R and make it more competitive ”.

His dad Ron is always alongside him.

“He follows me at the track in all the races and is an important contribution for me, as he advises and corrects me. His special advice is to have fun every time I get on the bike ”.


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