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SBK, Stefan Bradl: “If Honda improves in the Superbike, I’d think about it”

The German test rider hasn’t closed the doors to a return in the SBK: “I currently see myself as a Honda test rider in the MotoGP, but I know how it works in this company.”

SBK: Stefan Bradl: “If Honda improves in the Superbike, I’d think about it”

His return to the SBK World Championship hasn’t yet borne the fruit Honda hoped for. In 2020, they had officially reappeared on the Superbike scene, with the support of HRC and the goal of being a winner again, thanks to the new CBR1000RR-R, and also Alvaro Bautista and Leon Haslam. But these hopes were shattered with a Fireblade that was too green to keep up with the competition and a development stage that was seriously compromised by the pandemic. In the first two years, Alvaro won three podiums. Then their rookie, Iker Lecuona, added a third place last season, joined by another rookie, Xavi Vierge, in a 2022 during which Bautista was consecrated riding the Ducati Panigale V4 R.

These results made test rider Stefan Bradl reflect. In past seasons, and in more than one case, he ended up on the track with Bautista during one of Honda’s private tests: “At that time, Alvaro wasn’t very happy. But his return to Ducati was positive for him, and what he achieved in 2022 is remarkable,” Stefan told Speedweek. The Japanese constructor’s test rider admitted that he had talked to the Spanish rider about his willingness to return to compete full-time in a high-level championship, but he doesn’t seem very convinced that the SBK is the right place for him. 

The Superbike isn’t my category, all the more so after everything I experienced in 2017 with Honda,” the 33-year-old explained, recalling the year he spent in the SBK with the Red Bull Honda team. A difficult year, ending in a 14th place in the riders standings, with a 6th place as best result, several withdrawals, and six races lost due to an injury that had prevented him from finishing the season. 

But despite all the bad memories, Stefan hasn’t completely abandoned the idea of returning: “If I test the Ducati, I could change my mind, but I currently see myself as a Honda test rider in the MotoGP,” he said. “However, if Honda presented itself with a new and powerful Superbike, I’d definitely consider it. I’ve been working with HRC for almost ten years, so I know how things work in this company. If something happens, I’m close to the action and ready to take on other tasks. In 2022, I couldn’t take part in the Suzuka 8 Hours due to coincidences, but there was a request. Also, Honda has won, so they’re certainly satisfied with the Superbike riders, but you never know ...”


Translated by Leila Myftija

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